On Thursday morning just after 6:00 a.m., a fire broke out on the top floor of a residential building on Hof Hayam Street in Shlomi. Inside the apartment was a woman and a number of children. The woman quickly began to usher her children out of the burning apartment which quickly filled with poisonous smoke. The panicked mother banged on doors and alerted neighbors to the blaze while also asking for help getting the children downstairs. One of the neighbors called emergency services for help.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yossi Ozen had just left his house on the nearby Ha-Alon Street in Shlomi when he received the alert. Yossi was on his way to work as the chief maintenance officer for the regional municipality of Asher when he received the alert. He picked up speed on his motorcycle and arrived first at the scene of the blaze. He was quickly joined a minute later by another United Hatzalah volunteer, Uriel Cohen, who was already at work at the Senior Citizens’ residence across the street from the blaze.
As the first responder on the scene, Yossi ran upstairs in order to get an understanding of what was happening and who needed assistance. “As I ran into the building I saw nine children in the hallway, some of whom had signs of smoke inhalation. None of them were in respiratory distress so I continued upstairs to the burning apartment which was located on the third floor.”
Yossi found a woman on the second floor who had sustained burns on her extremities and was in moderate condition. “The woman said that she lived on the top floor and that she had gotten all of her children out of the apartment. After treating her injuries I ran upstairs to double-check and make sure everyone had gotten out of the apartment. The apartment was filled with smoke so I couldn’t go in too far. When the fire department came they made a sweep of the apartment and thankfully didn’t find anyone else inside. They then worked to put out the fire. I went back downstairs to finish treating the mother and help carry her downstairs and out of the building.”
In the meantime, Uriel Cohen was downstairs assisting the children and the remainder of the residents who had begun exiting the building.
“When the ambulance showed up, we rushed the mother and one of the children who had visible signs of smoke inhalation to the hospital,” added Ozen. “This situation could have been much worse, but thanks to the quick thinking of the mother and the neighbors, it ended without any fatalities or severe injuries. I am thankful that I was able to help this morning. Helping people is in my blood. I have been a volunteer for quite a few years already, and my wife Orit has now joined me as well. She just finished her training course and will soon become a fully-fledged EMT volunteer herself. I am proud of what we do as volunteers and am proud to help people like I did this morning.”
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