A malfunctioning hotplate may have caused a fire that left seven children dead when it tore through a home in a neighbourhood of Brooklyn in New York.
Debris lies scattered behind the house at the scene of a fire in the Brooklyn
New York City’s fire commissioner Daniel Nigro said the dead range in age from five to 15 years. A woman and teenager who jumped from the second floor are in hospital in critical condition.
Nigro says the woman is believed to be the mother of all eight children.
New York's Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro describes the fire to reporters
The fire broke out early today at a single-family home in Midwood, a leafy section of Brooklyn known for its low crime and large Orthodox Jewish population.
Nigro says the hotplate was left on because of Sabbath prohibitions against cooking.
More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze and brought it under control at around 1.30am, about an hour after it was reported.
Firefighters walk near the scene of the fire.
Neighbour Nate Weber said he saw children being wheeled away on stretchers. “I just turned away. I didn’t even want to look,” he said.
Weber told the New York Daily News he heard the children’s mother yelling for someone to rescue her children after she jumped from a window.
“I heard a woman yelling: ’My kids are in there. Get them out! Get them out!”’ he said.