NEW YORK (JTA) — The bodies of a woman and her three children killed in a house fire were flown to Israel after a crowd of mourners proved too large and distraught for a memorial ceremony to be held in Brooklyn.
The New York Post reported Tuesday that hundreds of bereaved members of the Orthodox community gathered outside Congregation Sheves Achim in East Flatbush on Monday evening to mourn Aliza Azan, 39, and her children.
“Unable to enter the synagogue,” the Post reported, the hearses “then headed straight to JFK airport where a flight was preparing to fly them to Israel.”
City fire and police officials confirmed that a Hanukkah menorah on the first floor of the 2 1/2-story house sparked the blaze at around 2:20 a.m. Monday. The victims included Azan’s sons Moshe, 11, and Yitzah, 7, and daughter Henrietta, 3.
The father, Yosi, three children and their cousin survived the fire, but were injured in the fast-moving blaze, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at a news conference. Yosi Azan and his daughter Shalit, 16, and son Daniel, 15 — were in critical condition at Staten Island University Hospital. Two younger boys were treated for minor injuries.
Fire Department officials said the house had a working smoke detector, which may have alerted the boys on the first floor to the fire.