Seven siblings from an Orthodox Jewish family were killed early Saturday when a fire tore through their Brooklyn home after they had gone to bed, a tragedy that authorities believe was caused by a malfunctioning hot plate left on for the Sabbath.
The heartbreaking story from Yahoo.com:
The blaze took the lives of three girls and four boys — ages 5 to 16 — and left their mother and another child in critical condition. Fire officials said the flames would have prevented the mother, who escaped out a window, from trying to rescue her children.
“This is an unbelievable tragedy,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said after touring the charred residence. “Every New Yorker is feeling this pain right now.”
Fire investigators believe a hot plate left on a kitchen counter ignited the flames that raced up the stairs, trapping the children in their second-floor rear bedrooms, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
Many religious Jews do not use electricity on the Sabbath, along with refraining from work and observing other prohibitions meant to keep the day holy. As a result, some families may leave them on so they are usable without violating any religious laws or traditions.
Nigro called it the city’s worst fatal fire in recent memory.
“It’s a tragedy for this family, it’s a tragedy for this community, it’s a tragedy for the city,” he said.
Police officials identified the victims as members of the Sassoon family. Three of the children were girls: Eliane, 16, Rivkah, 11 and Sara, 6. Four were boys: David, 12, Yeshua, 10, Moshe, 8 and Yaakob, 5.
Nigro said authorities believe the father was away at a conference at the time of the fire. Neither his name nor those of the survivors were released.
The fire broke out shortly after midnight while the children were asleep in five bedrooms in the rear of the home in Midwood, a tree-lined section of Brooklyn known for its low crime and close-knit Orthodox Jewish population.
Karen Rosenblatt, who lives nearby, said she called 911 after being awoken by her husband Andrew when he saw flames and smoke bellowing from the home. The husband said also he heard “what seemed like a young girl scream, ‘Help me! Help me!'”
How sad is this? As a Jewish-American woman, it is so sad to see members of my faith lose family members, especially when only trying to follow the laws od G-d. Often, we leave things on to observe Sabbath, and this is just another reason for us all to double check our appliances before we keep them on. May all you sweet babies rest in peace.
“They were so pure” — Father of Jewish children killed in Brooklyn fire
The Jerusalem funeral for seven Orthodox Jewish children, killed in a Brooklyn fire early Saturday.
Written by Katie McGuire. Follow Katie on Twitter @GOPKatie, or email the author at KatieFMcGuire@gmail.com
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