Firefighters were battling a large fire at a plant near Haifa’s port Thursday afternoon, after flames engulfed a warehouse storing 80 tons of cooking oil, sending large plumes of smoke over the Haifa Bay.
A firefighter was taken to a local hospital after being lightly hurt.
Around 20 firefighting trucks were at the scene, and backup teams from the country’s center and north were being sent to assist. Officials said it could take many hours to douse the flames.
Roads in the area were closed off by police, and the port’s entrance gate for trucks was also shuttered.
The Environmental Protection Ministry said the warehouse’s roof was made of asbestos, and special precautions would need to be taken after the fire was put out to prevent exposure by the local population.
Officials urged the public to stay away from the area due to noxious fumes. There were no immediate instructions for residents in the surrounding area to evacuate, though factories near the warehouse were emptied.In July a fire broke out at a science museum in Haifa, requiring the temporary evacuation of dozens of families living in adjacent buildings. The blaze erupted at the Madatech museum, housed in a historically significant building, over a century old, which served as the original home to the Technion, Israel’s very first school for technological studies (initially called Technikum). Officials said the building was not significantly damaged by the fire.