Numerous firefighting teams battle large Binyamina blaze; man dies in Savyon fire

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Firefighters on Saturday battled a large blaze near the northern town of Binyamina as police arrested a local resident on suspicion of negligently starting the conflagration.

The Israel Fire and Rescue Services said 25 firefighting crews and six planes were working to douse the conflagration, which broke out in Jabotinsky Shuni Park amid an intense heat spike that was accompanied by strong winds.

At the same time, a 77-year-old man was killed in a fire at a private home in Savyon, east of Tel Aviv. The man was extracted unconscious from the home by relatives but later died of smoke he’d inhaled. His wife, 75, was lightly hurt. The fire was apparently caused by a cigarette left on a bed.

In Binyamina, police evacuated a number of hikers from the area — one of Israel’s major winegrowing regions — and also closed nearby Route 652 because of the fire.

Due to the fire, an event scheduled for Saturday evening at the park’s amphitheater, a popular venue for music shows, was postponed until next month.

Police arrested the suspect, 59, after he was spotted lighting papers on fire, according to the Walla news site.

Smaller fires erupted elsewhere. Firefighters responded to a blaze in a field near Bustan HaGalil in the Western Galilee, and a fire in a barn in Kafr Qassem claimed the life of a horse, but teams were able to put it out before it spread.

Recent weeks have seen repeated threats of multiple conflagrations across the country amid heatwaves.

On June 2, hot and windy conditions sparked hundreds of blazes that led to evacuations and road closures throughout Israel.

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