Seven children dead in Brooklyn fire
A fire, apparently caused by a malfunctioning hotplate left on for the Sabbath, tore through a Brooklyn home early yesterday, leaving seven children from the same Orthodox Jewish family dead and their mother and another child in critical condition, authorities said.
Three girls - ages 8, 12, 15 - and four boys - ages 5, 6, 7 and 11 - were killed, said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
A teenage girl survived along with a woman, who is believed to be the mother of all eight children, by jumping from second-floor windows. Both were hospitalised after suffering burns and smoke inhalation.
The commissioner called it the worst tragedy by fire in the city's 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.
The fatal fire started shortly after midnight while the children were asleep in five bedrooms in the rear of the home in Midwood, a leafy section of the borough of Brooklyn known for its low crime rate and large Orthodox Jewish population.
Fire investigators believe a hotplate left on a kitchen counter ignited the flames that raced up the stairs to the second floor.
More than 100 fire fighters responded and brought the fire under control.
The last residential blaze with a similar death toll happened in 2007, when eight children and an adult were killed in a 100-year-old building in the borough of the Bronx where several African immigrant families lived.