Seven siblings die in horror New York fire


A fire in which seven siblings died has left the Orthodox community of Brooklyn in shock.

It is believed that the blaze started after a food-warming plate used on Shabbat malfunctioned.

The fire was the deadliest in the New York area since 2007, fire department officials said.

Neighbours said they could hear the children, aged 5 to 16, calling for help and screaming in the early hours of Saturday night when the blaze - which originated in the ground-floor kitchen - trapped them in first-floor bedrooms.

Their mother, 45-year-old Avigayil Sassoon, managed to escape the inferno with one daughter, 15-year-old Tziporah, by leaping from a window.

Both were hospitalised in critical conditions.

The father, Gabriel Sassoon, was away from home at a religious retreat at the time and only learned about the incident hours afterwards as he was praying in a synagogue.

At the funeral service held on Sunday, blocks away from the site of the tragedy, hundreds packed a narrow chapel, where the sound of weeping and wailing filled the air.

As he looked down at the seven coffins, Mr Sassoon recalled each child for a defining trait - Rivkah, 11, was joyful; Yeshua, 10, was creative - and spoke of his continued devotion to his faith.

"There's only one way to survive this," he said. "Surrender, that's it. We don't understand anything; our wishes are tiny compared to what Hashem has planned."

The family had moved to the US from Israel two years ago.

On Saturday, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, seemingly shaken after visiting the charred shell of the home, called on New Yorkers to pray for the survivors.

The siblings were flown to Israel immediately after the ceremony, where they were buried in Jerusalem.

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