The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York this week joined the city’s Jewish community in mourning the four members of a Syrian Jewish family who died in a fire early Monday morning in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn, and sent to JCRC members a guide to fire safety prepared by the New York Fire Department.
Fire authorities said the blaze that took the life of Aliza Azan and three of her young children, and badly injured her husband, Yossi, and four other children, was caused by an oil-burning menorah placed in a window of the three-story home on Sunday night, the sixth night of Chanukah.
Mr. Azan and two children were in critical condition early this week.
Firefighters reportedly arrived at the home less than three minutes after the first 911 call from neighbors, but by then the home was engulfed by 10-foot flames blowing out the windows.
“Many holy days and observances are a time for traditional cooking and candles,” a message sent by JCRC stated. “Unfortunately, unattended candles have been a growing cause of fires in recent years in NYC.”
The JCRC email message included a link to the FDNY fire safety website (fdnysmart.org), which is available in more than 80 languages, as well as the Fire Department’s “Fire Safety for Jewish Observances” list of tips, which urge people to “stay in the kitchen — don’t leave cooking food unattended,” and “create a ‘kid-free zone’ of at least three feet around your stove.”
Yeshiva World News reported that some of the Azan children who were killed and injured were classmates with the seven children from the Sassoon family who were killed in a Brooklyn house fire in the Flatbush section in March 2015.
The Azans immigrated to the United States from Israel about 15 years; Mrs. Azan and her children were buried this week in Israel.
Mrs. Azan’s father, Avraham Hamra, is considered the chief rabbi of Syrian Jewry.
Five firefighters were injured while battling this week’s blaze.