Tragedy in Beitar Illit: Baby and toddler die in blaze

Two children perished in a fire in Beitar Illit just south of Jerusalem.

By: Jack Gold, World Israel News Staff

Tragedy struck the city of Beitar Illit on Tuesday night when a two-year-old baby boy and his four-year-old sister died in a fire which broke out in their second-floor apartment in the city just south of Jerusalem.

A mass blaze, whose causes are yet to be determined, broke out in an apartment while a babysitter was tending the five children of the Ginsburg family. Unconfirmed reports say an exploded night light started the fire.

Two-year-old Zvi and four-year-old Efrat Ginsburg perished in the blaze. Three of their siblings survived.

Firefighters rushed to the scene, first rescuing people trapped in the five-story building before turning their attention to putting out the fire.

The firefighters rescued a number of casualties, some of whom were trapped on a balcony, among them a 22-year-old man who was listed in moderate condition, and two children, aged seven and nine, both lightly injured. Four others who inhaled smoke were treated on site but did not require evacuation to a hospital.

Rescuers reported that the staircase and the passages in the building were filled with soot and smoke, attesting to the inferno generated by intense heat and smoke.

Social workers and psychologists from the municipality were dispatched to care for the family.

“The Beitar Illit Municipality together with all residents of the city are shocked, grieving and shaken by the tragic passing of the two young children,” the city said in a statement.

A special team has been assembled to investigate the disaster.