NEW YORK (AP) — Funerals are planned today for seven siblings from an Orthodox Jewish family who died in an early morning house fire in New York City.
Authorities say their mother and a teenage sister survived by jumping from the second floor of their Brooklyn home, but both suffered burns and smoke inhalation.
Fire investigators believe a warming plate in the first-floor kitchen ignited the fire shortly after midnight Saturday. Many religious Jews refrain from using electricity on the Sabbath but leave appliances on so they may be used.
Officials say the children who died ranged in age from 5 to 16 years old and were all members of the Sassoon family. Three of the children were girls: 16-year-old Eliane, 11-year-old Rivkah and 6-year-old Sara. Four were boys: 12-year-old David, 10-year-old Yeshua, 8-year-old Moshe and 5-year-old Yaakob.
Authorities said their father was away at a conference at the time of the fire.
A state assemblyman representing the tightknit Orthodox Jewish community says the deaths are “an absolute disaster.” Dov Hikind says the community remains in “utter shock.”