Seven children die as broken heater sparks New York blaze

New York: Seven children from the same family died Saturday when their New York home was engulfed in flames after a portable cooker malfunctioned.

The hot plate, a small electrical heating element, may have been left on to keep food warm because of Orthodox Jewish customs that bar cooking on the Sabbath, New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

“This is the largest tragedy by fire that this city has had in seven years,” Nigro said in comments reported by The New York Times.

“It´s a tragedy for this family, it´s a tragedy for this community, it´s a tragedy for the city.”

Firefighters were called to the blaze in the home in the borough of Brooklyn shortly after midnight. The victims were aged between five and 16.

A total of 105 firefighters responded to the scene.

A 45-year-old woman, the mother and another girl, 14, escaped by jumping out of windows and were being treated in area hospitals in critical condition.