BROOKLYN - Seven young siblings killed in a Midwood house fire were mourned and laid to rest in Israel.
The children arrived in Israel for burial Monday morning, just a day after hundreds of residents in their ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn gathered to say goodbye to the three girls and four boys from the Sassoon family. A prayer vigil was also held Sunday night as a memorial of flowers grows outside the family's Bedford Avenue home.
Their father, Gabriel Sassoon, described his children, ages 5 to 16, as "angels" who brought joy to his life. He was not home when the fire erupted. The children's mother and a 14-year-old daughter survived, but remain hospitalized in critical condition.
Fire officials say the early morning fire on Saturday was caused by a malfunctioning hot plate left on in the kitchen for the Sabbath, a common modern method of obeying tradition prohibiting use of fire on the holy day. Many Jews are now reconsidering the practice.
Authorities say the kids were asleep on the second floor when the fire broke out, and there were no working smoke alarms in the home. The tragedy is a sad reminder to ensure that you have working detectors.