YONKERS, N. Y. (Dec. 21)
The celebration of Chanukah in the Yonkers Jewish community was marred by a fire tragedy last night that took the lives of nine children and three adults at the Yonkers Jewish Community Center. Police Chief William Folsen said the fire was the worst in Yonkers history.
County and city officials today opened an investigation into the cause of the flash fire which trapped a class of children taking music lessons and three instructors in a room on the fourth floor of the Center. Most of the 100 children in the building were led to safety. Many children made their way along ledges four stories above the ground until they reached firemen’s ladders. The child victims included three sets of brothers and sisters, aged seven to 11.
Nine other persons were injured in the blaze and four remained hospitalized. The children had been seated in a room on the fourth floor waiting for after-school music lessons to start, when smoke began to filter into the room. The victims all apparently died from smoke poisoning.