02:40 GMT25 January 2021
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    An official investigating the incident says an electrical issue that had been present for quite some time was the cause of the ground heating up in the area, but the electricity supplier flatly denied the connection.

    Tel Aviv municipality has informed residents of two downtown apartment buildings that they may return to their homes, days after they were evacuated due to steam rising from the heated-up ground around the location, Haaretz reported.

    Specialists were dispatched to the scene without delay, but failed to detect any dangerous substances at the site or any risks posed to the stability of the buildings, both blocks of flats and kindergartens, in the area. The municipality referred to the source of the mysterious heat as “trapped energy” of unknown origins, saying the investigation into the possible cause will continue.

    One of the officials involved in looking into the incident told Haaretz that a persisting electrical issue had been the source of the heat, although the Israel Electric Corporation denied the connection, contending that the incident had nothing to do with the power grid.

    On Thursday, residents of an apartment building on the northern end of Ibn Gabirol Street noticed steam rising up from the ground. Tests showed that the steam was as hot as 60 degrees Celsius.

    Complaints about the previously unheard-of rise in the temperature of the ground started to come in as far back as two weeks ago. At the time, a resident contacted Modi Feldberg, the head of the apartment owners’ committee in one of the buildings, to report that a concrete surface outside their building was markedly heating up.

    “I took off my sandal and stepped on the concrete. I almost got burned”, Feldberg recounted, further stating that he also noticed steam coming out of the adjacent buildings at the time, which he was poised to explain geologically.

    “I was afraid there was a power line in the area, and I asked a labourer to dig into the ground with a shovel. All of a sudden, steam came out. I imagined that it was probably a geyser. It appeared to me to be a geological incident – also because there haven’t been any problems with the electricity in the building”, the resident commented.

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    Tags:
    Tel Aviv, electric grid, incident, Israel
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