(JNS.org) A fire in the kitchen of an Orthodox Jewish home in the Midwood section of Brooklyn on Saturday killed seven children between the ages of 5 and 16. The mother, Gayle Sassoon, and one of her daughters, 15-year-old Siporah, were the only family members who were able to survive the blaze by jumping out of second-floor windows.
The New York Times reported that authorities attributed the fire to an unknown malfunction in an electric hot plate, which is used by observant families to keep food warm on Shabbat. The Sassoon family’s victims included Eliane, 16; Rivkah, 11; Sara, 6; David, 12; Yeshua, 10; Moshe, 8; and Yaakob, 5. Their father was away at a conference for Shabbat.
“This is an unbelievable tragedy,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who visited the scene of the fire. “Every New Yorker is feeling this pain right now.”
It was New York City’s deadliest fire since March 2007. The seven children will be buried in Israel.