Seven Children from One Orthodox Jewish Family Died Together in a Fire on Saturday Night

This is but a terrible tragedy that moved me to tears last night, as I learned about the passing of seven innocent children. I couldn’t help but to hug my kids a little tighter as I thought of the pain and horror the surviving family members are experiencing According to the Associated Press – Seven children from an Orthodox Jewish family died Saturday when their New York home was engulfed in flames after a portable cooker malfunctioned.The hotplate, a small electrical heating element, may have been left on to keep food warm because of Orthodox Jewish customs that bar cooking on the Sabbath, New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

“This is the largest tragedy by fire that this city has had in seven years,” Nigro said in comments reported by The New York Times.

“It’s a tragedy for this family, it’s a tragedy for this community, it’s a tragedy for the city.”

Firefighters were called to the blaze in the home in the borough of Brooklyn shortly after midnight. The victims were aged between five and 16.

A total of 105 firefighters responded to the scene.

A 45-year-old woman, the mother and another girl, 14, escaped by jumping out of windows and were being treated in area hospitals in critical condition.

– Tragic loss –

“It is unimaginable what you see in there. You can literally see what was a home for a large and strong family and now it is wiped out, every room empty and burned and charred,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said upon visiting the scene.

“And you can only imagine this beautiful, vibrant family 24 hours ago intact.”

Neighbor Nate Weber told the New York Post: “I heard a woman yelling, ‘My kids are in there. Get them out, get them out!'”

Weber saw children being taken from the home on stretchers and “I knew it was bad news… I just turned away. I didn’t even want to look,” he recalled.

The mother and the eight children were in at least five upstairs bedrooms when the fire broke out in the kitchen downstairs.

“To find a house full of children that can’t be revived, I’m sure this will take its toll on our members for quite some time,” CNN quoted Nigro as saying.

The fatal victims were identified as 16-year-old Eliane, 12-year-old David, 11-year-old Rivkah, 10-year-old Yeshua, eight-year-old Moshe, six-year-old Sara and five-year-old Yaakob, all from the Sassoon family.

Officials said the father was not home at the time of the tragedy.

A man who lives next door to the burned home told the Times the family was large and loving and that some of the kids had helped neighbors shovel snow on Friday.

“They’re very good people, the kids were always helping people,” he told the newspaper.

Nigro said there was no sign of working smoke detectors on the first or second floors.

Because Orthodox Jewish customs proscribe the lighting of a fire or flame on the Sabbath, many families leave electrical burners running to keep food warm over the day of rest instead of using stoves.

The father of seven Orthodox Jewish children killed in a Brooklyn house fire told hundreds of mourners at their funeral on Sunday that the only way he can survive the tragedy was “complete, utter and total surrender” to his religious beliefs.

The grieving man, Gabriel Sassoon, spoke at a packed funeral chapel where white curtains separated hundreds of men wearing black hats and yarmulkes from women in modest dress.

His eulogy for the seven children, ages 5 to 16, was broadcast to an even bigger crowd outside. Many of the mourners rocked back and forth in reverence as he spoke.

“My children, they were so pure,” said Sassoon, looking at the seven coffins at the Shomrei Hadas Chapels. be loaded into seven hearses headed for John F. Kennedy International flown to Israel for burial.

Only an eighth child, 15-year-old Siporah, and S wife, Gayle Sassoon, 45, survived the blaze. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers for days, weeks, months and even years to come.

The New York Fire Department responded to some 2,504 “serious incidents” in 2014, according to its annual report.

New York City Fire Department Commissioner Nigro reacts while standing at the site of a home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York

New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Commissioner Daniel Nigro reacts while standing at the site of a home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York March 21, 2015. In one of New York City’s deadliest fires in years, seven children from the same Orthodox Jewish family died early on Saturday when flames ripped through their Brooklyn home, officials said. The blaze, which erupted just before 12:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), appeared to have been started accidentally by a hot plate, which are used by many Orthodox families to warm food on the Sabbath, said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Community members stand at the site of a home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York

Community members stand at the site of a home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York March 21, 2015. Seven children from an Orthodox Jewish family died early on Saturday when flames ripped through their Brooklyn home in one of New York City’s deadliest fires in years, officials said. The blaze erupted in the single-family dwelling around 12:30 a.m. (0430 GMT). It apparently was started accidentally by a hot plate, used by many Orthodox families to warm food on the Sabbath, said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio surveys the aftermath of home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio surveys the aftermath of home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York March 21, 2015. In one of New York City’s deadliest fires in years, seven children from the same Orthodox Jewish family died early on Saturday when flames ripped through their Brooklyn home, officials said. The blaze, which erupted just before 12:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), appeared to have been started accidentally by a hot plate, which are used by many Orthodox families to warm food on the Sabbath, said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to community members after arriving to the site of a home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (C) speaks to community members after arriving to the site of a home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York March 21, 2015. In one of New York City’s deadliest fires in years, seven children from the same Orthodox Jewish family died early on Saturday when flames ripped through their Brooklyn home, officials said. The blaze, which erupted just before 12:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), appeared to have been started accidentally by a hot plate, which are used by many Orthodox families to warm food on the Sabbath, said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Firefighters stand outside a home hours after it caught fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York

Firefighters stand outside a home hours after it caught fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York March 21, 2015. In one of New York City’s deadliest fires in years, seven children from the same Orthodox Jewish family died early on Saturday when flames ripped through their Brooklyn home, officials said. The blaze, which erupted just before 12:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), appeared to have been started accidentally by a hot plate, which are used by many Orthodox families to warm food on the Sabbath, said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

The home in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn where a fire killed seven children on March 21, 2015 in New York (AFP Photo/Kena Betancur)

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