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Brush Fire In Israel Engulfs Bus, Kills Dozens Of Student Guards

This bus was engulfed in flames, killing about 40 student prison guards. Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

About 40 people, most of them apparently trainees in Israel's prison guard service, died today when the bus they were in was caught in flames from a huge brush fire in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa.

Haaretz reports the victims were "being brought to the Damon Prison to aid in evacuating the prisoners there."

The Jerusalem Post says "a firefighter spokesman said the blaze had traveled 1500 meters in less than three minutes, adding, 'the bus had no chance. They tried to escape but were burned alive. It was a horrific scene.' "

From Jerusalem, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro says it isn't known what started the fire, but that "Israel is suffering through a massive drought. There's been no rain for eight months and November was the driest month on record since 1962."