Seven children died on early Saturday morning after a malfunctioning hot plate sparked a house fire in Brooklyn.
Another two people – a woman and a 14-year-old – were severely injured in the deadly blaze after they jumped from the second-floor window of the brick home in Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood while trying to escape the flames, according to the Associated Press.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the victims were between ages 5 to 15. “This is the largest tragedy by fire that this city has had in seven years,” he said. “It’s a tragedy for this family, it’s a tragedy for this community, it’s a tragedy for the city.”
It’s believed that that the fire was caused by a malfunctioning hot plate, which had been left on to keep food warm for the Sabbath, the New York Post reports.
Firefighters said they found a sole smoke detector in the basement. “There was no evidence of smoke detectors on either the first or the second floor that may have alerted this family to the fire,” Nigro said.
The woman who survived is thought to be the mother of the children. Neighbors told the Post they heard her shouting, “My kids are in there, get them out! Get them out!” after she jumped from the window.
More than 100 firefighters responded to the flames, but by the time they located the children in the house, it was too late.
One girl, 8, was pronounced dead at the scene, while six of her siblings were taken to local hospitals where they later died, CNN reports.
“To find a house full of children that can’t be revived, I’m sure this will take its toll on our members for quite some time,” Nigro said.