Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The children’s father, Yosi Azan, ran through the second floor as flames clawed at him, trying to save his family, officials said. He helped a teenage son and teenage daughter out a window and onto the first-floor roof. They hesitated to jump, and so Mr. Azan apparently helped nudge them off the roof to safety, according to an account given to investigators....

Menorah Blamed for Brooklyn Fire That Killed Mother and 3 Children

Avner Siani, a friend of the family, passing by the home in Brooklyn where a woman and three of her children died in a fire early Monday.
It was the sixth night of Hanukkah, and in a front room of the Azan family’s three-story Brooklyn home was an oil-burning menorah. The family placed it where the Talmud says to: in the window, so a passer-by could see.

As the family slept around 2 a.m. on Monday, flames leapt from near the menorah, starting a fire that killed three Azan children and their mother and badly injured their father and other children, the Fire Department said.

The menorah, about two feet wide, burned oil held in small glass cups. Fire marshals suspect the glass may have cracked under extended heat exposure, spilling oil and spreading flames, a Fire Department official said.

From the first floor, the fire proceeded to rip through the Sheepshead Bay home, hurtling up two sets of staircases and trapping part of the family inside as others fled through a side door or jumped down from a second-floor landing.

After firefighters extinguished the blaze, the mother, Aliza Azan, 39, was found dead on the second floor. So too, the police said, were Moshe Azan, 11; Yitzah Azan, 7; and Henrietta Azan, 3. They had all been asleep there.

The children’s father, Yosi Azan, ran through the second floor as flames clawed at him, trying to save his family, officials said. He helped a teenage son and teenage daughter out a window and onto the first-floor roof. They hesitated to jump, and so Mr. Azan apparently helped nudge them off the roof to safety, according to an account given to investigators.

When Mr. Azan reached the ground himself, he told a fire chief there were four people left inside, but the fire and smoke were too thick for firefighters to push through right away, the fire official said.

Both teenagers broke bones, one of them a pelvis. Mr. Azan and the two teenagers were taken to Staten Island University Hospital, where they were in critical condition and “fighting for their lives,” Daniel A. Nigro, the New York City fire commissioner, said. The father was believed to have internal burns from inhaling smoke.

The Azan family. Credit via Facebook

Mr. Nigro said of the father, “I believe he acted very courageously and tried desperately, and hopefully it didn’t cost his life, too.”

Neighbors across the street called 911, and firefighters arrived two minutes and 40 seconds later. They confronted a home that was engulfed, Mr. Nigro said.

Two younger teenagers asleep in a back bedroom on the first floor, one of them a cousin of the Azan children, escaped out a side door with less serious injuries. They heard a smoke detector alarm and yelled to alert other members of their family, Mr. Nigro said. They were taken to Maimonides Medical Center.

The teenagers helped lead fire marshals to the cause when they told them that the menorah had been left burning after they went to sleep and that they saw the fire start nearby. Investigators recovered remnants of the broken menorah.

Investigators had not found other smoke alarms beyond the one that activated on the first floor. The Fire Department recommends that people install them on every floor of a home.
Five or six firefighters were injured, though none seriously, officials said.

“Over the last couple days, several other major fires have caused many injuries — some very serious — and displaced others from their homes,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “During the holiday season, we all need to be cautious with decorations, electric lights, candles, space heaters and other items.”

Two years ago, seven children were killed nearby when a hot plate warming food for the Sabbath started a fire in a family home. Mr. Azan had posted about it on Facebook.

“I know the family,” he wrote. “It’s something that is beyond comprehension. Three of the children study with my children. 7 children.”

Mourners along a funeral procession in Brooklyn on Monday night for the victims of the fire. Credit Johnny Milano for The New York Times 

In all, nine people were in the home at 1946 East 14th Street: a mother and father, their six children and a cousin.

The Azans are Syrian Jews who immigrated to the United States from Israel about 15 years ago, said Abby, 50, a relative of Ms. Azan who declined to give his last name.

Ms. Azan cooked scrumptious Mediterranean meals for her six children, laughed with her husband’s constant jokes and kept the home a welcoming place for a stream of visitors, Abby said. Mr. Azan is a manager at a nearby clothing store called Hat Box, which sells shirts and shoes, and is known for his friendly service and for always giving his customers deals, said Avi Navon, 59.

Ms. Azan’s father, Avraham Hamra, is considered the chief rabbi of Syrian Jewry and is said to have helped hundreds of Jews escape to Israel.

The four bodies arrived in a procession of police-escorted vehicles shortly after 7 p.m. Monday at Congregation Shevet Achim, a synagogue tucked between homes on a residential block of Sheepshead Bay crowded with mourners, police officers and members of the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol, a Jewish neighborhood watch group.

But a planned service inside the synagogue did not happen, police officers and Shomrim volunteers said, because of the size of the crowd, as well as the timing: During Hanukkah, the types of mourning expressions allowed in certain Jewish traditions are limited.

Instead, the vehicles, including a hearse with its rear gate raised, paused for several minutes on the street outside. Mourners, many chanting prayers, surged around the vehicles and then fell in line behind the cortège as it rolled slowly toward Coney Island Avenue, where the crowd dispersed, en route to Kennedy Airport.

One mourner who would only identify himself as Sonny, 23, said that as a child in Brooklyn he had attended the same school as the victims. He now lives in New Jersey, but felt it important to be present.

“Any time there’s a tragedy in the community, every single person has to feel and be part of what happened,” Sonny said. “We can’t change the past, but the only thing we could do is try to fill a little of the pain and the hole that the family has, and that’s by coming out and escorting their precious ones.”

Official AZAN Family Fire Fund

Please note this is the Only Official Page Sanctioned by Community Rabbis including Rabbi David Ozeri.

All funds collected from this campaign will be deposited directly to Yad Yosef Fund and will be distributed  accordingly by Rabbi David Ozeri personally.

To verify the legitimacy of this campaign you can call Yad Yosef at 718-677-3707 Ext 0. Please advise that you are calling about the campaign name in the URL (web address) above.

On December 18, 2017, the 6th Night of Chanukah at about 2:30 AM a fast moving fire struck the Azan Family home. The Azan family lost their Mother Aliza 39, and 3 beautiful children 11-year-old Moshe; 7-year-old Yitzchak and 3-year-old Henriette. Their father, Yossi Azan, his 16-year-old Daughter Shilat and 15-year-old son Daniel remain in critical condition on life support in Staten Island University Hospital Burn Unit. One remaining son and his cousin escaped without injuries.

As many fellow community members are asking how can we help... the family is going to need assistance in obtaining a new home, medical care and many other anticipated expenses. Without any source of income for the foreseeable future, the goal of this campaign is to help ease their burden as much as possible.

****Please note that when making a donation you will see a “tip” drop down bar. This is OPTIONAL. The tip goes to GoFundMe. If you wish NOT to leave a tip click “other” and type “$0.00”.****

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