FDNY Fire Marshals have officially declared that today's fatal 3-alarm Brooklyn fire which killed a mother and three of her children who had gone to sleep after celebrating the sixth night of Hanukkah was caused by an "accidental, unattended lit menorah".
Aliza Azan, 39, was found dead on the second floor of the single-family home, near the children who perished: 11-year-old Moshe; 7-year-old Yitzah and 3-year-old Henrietta.
The children's father and two teenagers are in critical condition. Eight others, including five firefighters, suffered minor injuries.
This is a developing story.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that while the cause was still under investigation by fire marshals, "we know that unattended candles, overloaded outlets and power strips, and numerous holiday traditions we all hold dear are so often the cause". The FDNY is trying to figure out what sparked the fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments in the U.S. responded to an average of 8,690 residential fires started by candles, per year between 2011 and 2015. "The units, knowing there were people in the home, pushed in very aggressively". "There were big flames shooting out the front of the house", he said.
According to Nigro, to get out the mother and her three children on the second floor, firefighters would have had to go right into the fire. A third son was able to escape through a side door with minimal injury.
"This may be the source of the fire because it was in the room on the first floor where the fire was predominately contained", the law enforcement source said.
The father was the manager of a Coney Island clothing store called "Hat Box", according to one of his friends, 59-year-old Avi Navon.
Mayor Bill de Blasio urged people to be cautious with decorations, electric lights, candles and space heaters during the winter months and the holidays. He said Azan's father was a rabbi.