Carmel fire deaths like scenes from Holocaust

Rescue workers at the site of Israel’s worst ever forest fire have described “chilling” scenes after 40 prison guards burned to death in a crash in the Carmel mountain region.

The blaze in northern Israel, which has already wrecked thousands of acres of vegetation and caused a mass evacuation of universities and homes in the area, has not yet been brought under control.

Abraham Danziger, a team leader for ZAKA, Israel’s volunteer rescue service, said: “The terrible smell of the charred bodies which is hanging in the air will remain with me for a long time.

“Some of the bodies are in a very bad condition and we are working hard to identify them.”

Around 170 ZAKA volunteers are working in northern Israel to help minimise the devastation.

One, Dudi Rosenberg said it was the most difficult and complex incident he has ever encountered as a volunteer.

He said: “The volunteers recovered the bodies even as the fire continued to rage.

“I cannot find the words to describe the terrible sight of people who were burned alive as they were trying to escape.”

His colleague Raphael Mant added: “The awful scenes of tens of bodies lined up one next to the other, completely burnt, that reminds me of images from the Holocaust.

ZAKA are appealing for donations to help continue operations in the area.

Last updated: 10:40am, December 3 2010