Boy saves family from Chanucah fire

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 20, 2012

A nine-year-old boy’s quick thinking saved his family after Chanucah candles ignited their home last Friday.

Moments after Zev Dunner had left his wife and four children, aged between two and nine, at home for a Shabbat synagogue service, Chanucah candles are believed to have set fire to the living room curtains.

Flames quickly engulfed the ground floor of the house in George Street, Higher Broughton.

“We have a smoke alarm, which alerted my nine-year-old son, Shmuel, who quickly rang 999, and ran upstairs to alert my wife. He learned about fire safety at school,” said Mr Dunner.

Shmuel, who attends the strictly Orthodox Tashbar primary school, had learned the Jewish law — pikuach nefesh — which, to save lives, allows the normally forbidden use of phones on Shabbat.

“If he had hesitated a minute it could have been a tragedy. The smoke was so thick,” added the 38-year-old father, who said his family were becoming trapped as the front door became impassable due to smoke and flames.

“He was a hero for acting so quickly.”

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Commander Andy Heywood visited north Manchester synagogues over Shabbat to issue fire warnings to congregants.

Last updated: 12:53pm, December 20 2012