Seven children were killed in a fire that tore through a family home in New York City's Brooklyn borough early Saturday, officials told BuzzFeed News.
The children, between the ages of 5 and 16, were all members of the same family and lived in the predominately Jewish Orthodox neighborhood of Midwood.
The victims were later identified by the NYPD as Eliane Sassoon, 16; her sisters Rivkah, 11; and Sara, 6; and brothers David, 12; Yeshua, 10; Moshe, 8; and Yaakob, 5.
The children's mother, Gayle, and a 15-year-old daughter, Siporah, survived, but were rushed to hospital in a critical condition.
"This is the largest tragedy by fire that this city has had in seven years," New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters at the scene, according to the Associated Press. "It's a tragedy for this family, it's a tragedy for this community, it's a tragedy for the city."
More than 100 firefighters were called upon to fight the two-alarm fire, which was first reported around 12:24 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Amid snow and freezing conditions, the blaze took an hour to extinguish.
An FDNY spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but preliminary findings suggest it may have been sparked by a hot plate left on in the home's kitchen.
Many Orthodox families that are forbidden from using electronic equipment on the Sabbath use a hot plate to keep food warm.
According to the AP, Nigro told reporters that the children's father, Gabe, had been away at a conference and that attempts to contact him on the Sabbath were initially unsuccessful.
He said the woman and the teenage daughter survived by jumping from windows.
Nigro said authorities have found no evidence of smoke alarms on the first or second floors of the home.
The seven Sassoon children who died in the Brooklyn fire were farewelled Sunday in a funeral in Brooklyn.
Thousands of people, including many Orthodox Jews, gathered to mourn the dead children in the Borough Park neighborhood.
The children's father, Gabe Sassoon, was present for the funeral. "There's nothing to say! There's absolutely nothing to say!" he said, according to the New York Times. "Too many names!"
The children's bodies were then flown to Israel where they were buried at Jerusalem's Har HaMenuchot cemetery on Monday.
The children who died were ages 5 to 16, not 5 to 15. An earlier version of this story misstated the age range, based on information provided from fire officials.
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
Contact David Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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