UPDATE (AP): A fire that tore through a home in a heavily Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood, leaving seven children dead and two other people in critical condition, may have been caused by a malfunctioning hot plate left on for the Sabbath, the city's fire commissioner said Saturday.
Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the deceased range in age from 5 to 15 years old. He said a woman and teenager survived after jumping from the second floor.
The woman is believed to be the mother of all eight children, Nigro said.
"This is the largest tragedy by fire that this city has had in seven years," Nigro said. "It's a tragedy for this family, it's a tragedy for this community, it's a tragedy for the city."
The names of the deceased were not released. Nigro said he believes the father is at a conference and officials have not yet been able to contact him.
Fire investigators found a smoke detector in the basement of the home, but so far none have been found elsewhere in the house, Nigro said.
"There was no evidence of smoke detectors on either the first or the second floor that may have alerted this family to the fire," he said.
Story by the Associated Press; curated by Oliver Darcy.
NEW YORK (AP) — Fire tore through a Brooklyn residence early Saturday, killing seven children and leaving two other people in critical condition, authorities said.
The dead are children ranging in age from 5 to 15 years old, and they are believed to be family members, New York Fire Department spokesman Jim Long said.
Firefighters received a call at 12:23 a.m. about the blaze at a private dwelling in Midwood, a leafy section of Brooklyn known for its low crime and large Orthodox Jewish population. Long said more than 100 firefighters responded to the blaze and brought the fire under control.
There was no immediate word on the cause. Long says it is being investigated by the city fire marshal's office.
[sharequote align="right"]"I turned away. I didn't even want to look."[/sharequote]
Fire officials had no other immediate details, but the New York Post reported the blaze occurred in a brick home.
The newspaper said that as firefighters worked to put out the fire, paramedics struggled to help the victims.
Neighbor Nate Weber told the paper that he saw children being wheeled away on stretchers.
"I turned away. I didn't even want to look," he said.
Weber said he heard the children's mother yelling for help.
"I heard a woman yelling: 'My kids are in there. Get them out. Get them out!'" he told the Post.