Fire in Israel on December 25 2016 12:54 PM (UTC).
A giant blaze broke out in Haifa on Sunday morning, after a fuel storage tank caught on fire at an Israel Oil Refineries - Bazan (ORL). Emergency firefighting crews immediately arrived to the site, together with teams from the Haifa District Municipal Association for Environmental Protection, according to the Fire and Rescue Authority. The tank in question, which has a 12,000-cubic meter capacity, was around 10% full when it caught on fire, a statement from ORL said. Fire crews took control of the situation, however in the early afternoon the fire had come back to life. Crews are once again battling the flames. Nonetheless, Environmental Protection Minister Ze'ev Elkin decided to open a situation room on Sunday morning, together with the ministry's director-general Israel Danczinger and senior staff members, as well as the Haifa branches of the Israel Police and the Fire and Rescue Authority. "The Environmental Protection ministry is performing measurements of air pollution from fine particles following the fire, evaluating the circumstances of the conflagration and its impact on the environment, while checking the effect on factories in the region and transmitting directives to both factories and area residents," a statement from the ministry said. "Ministry workers are on-call in the area and providing guidance." The Haifa District Municipal Association for Environmental Protection encouraged all residents of Kiryat Haim and Kiryat Motzkin to close their windows and doors and stay inside, due to the fine particle pollution caused by the gasoline combustion. The Israel Police warned the public to refrain from driving to the area, however roads which had been closed, including Route 4 and the Carmel tunnels have been reopened to traffic. The police also stressed that there is no known risk or danger to nearby factories, and confirmed that no injuries had been reported thus far. In response to the events, MK Yael Cohen Paran (Zionist Union) slammed ORL for "endangering public safety, poisoning the air and now also putting residents at risk of catching fire." "The Israeli government has not learned from the (2010) Carmel fire, and has not learned from the latest fires whose damages have still not been repaired," she said. "We must not wait for a big disaster in the Haifa Bay; the government must understand that it is forbidden for polluting and dangerous industry to be so close to a large civilian population."