Monday 18 November 2019

New York family tragedy: Malfunctioning hotplate may have caused fire that left seven children dead

Woman and teenager in a critical condition

Debris lay scattered behind the house. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Debris lay scattered behind the house. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
A firefighter surveys the aftermath of the home fire. Photo: Reuters/Stephanie Keith
Seven children died as flames ripped through a house in New York's Brooklyn borough. Photo: Reuters/Stephanie Keith
A policeman stands guard near the site of a home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Reuters/Stephanie Keith
Firefighters survey the aftermath of the tragic home fire. Photo: Reuters/Stephanie Keith
New York's Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, center, walks inside the remains of the home. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Independent.ie Newsdesk and Press Association

A malfunctioning hotplate may have caused a fire that left seven children dead when it tore through a home in a heavily Jewish neighbourhood of Brooklyn.

New York City's fire commissioner Daniel Nigro said the dead children range in age from five to 15 years. Their mother and her teenage child, who jumped from the second floor, are in hospital in critical condition.

Police said the children were all members of the Sassoon family. Three of the children were girls: 16-year-old Eliane, 11-year-old Rivkah and six-year-old Sara. Four were boys: 12-year-old David, 10-year-old Yeshua, eight-year-old Moshe and five-year-old Yaakob.

The fire broke out early today at a single-family home in Midwood, a leafy section of Brooklyn known for its low crime and large Orthodox Jewish population.

Nigro says the hotplate was left on because of Sabbath prohibitions against cooking.

More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze and brought it under control at around 1.30am, about an hour after it was reported.

Damage can be seen along an upper floor on the back of a house at the scene of a fire in which seven children died in the Brooklyn borough of New York Saturday, March 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Damage can be seen along an upper floor on the back of a house at the scene of a fire in which seven children died in the Brooklyn borough of New York Saturday, March 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Neighbour Nate Weber said he saw children being wheeled away on stretchers. "I just turned away. I didn't even want to look," he said.

Weber told the New York Daily News he heard the children's mother yelling for someone to rescue her children after she jumped from a window.

"I heard a woman yelling: 'My kids are in there. Get them out! Get them out!'" he said.

The children were all aged between five and 15 years of age.

Firefighters walk near the scene of a fire, center left, in which seven children died in the Brooklyn borough of New York Saturday, March 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Firefighters walk near the scene of a fire, center left, in which seven children died in the Brooklyn borough of New York Saturday, March 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The mother of at least three of the children, and one other youngster, were critically injured in the incident, media outlets report.

It's believed a malfunctioning hotplate may have caused a fire when it tore through the home.

According to CNN, the fire began at 12.23am in the brick New York home, located on Bedford Avenue.

“Two of the children weren’t breathing when they brought them out. The firefighters were running with them down the street on stretchers,” said a paramedic volunteer at the scene.

“The mother was covered in soot. It’s horrible inside.”

A total of 25 FDNY engines and other units, along with 106 firefighters and other personnel, responded to the deadly blaze, a FDNY spokesman said.

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