Midwood, NY – Fire From ‘Shabbas Blech’ May Have Killed Child, Injured Five Others on Yom Tov

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    Members of the New York City Fire Department fought a three-alarm fire that tore through a home in Brooklyn on Wednesday.[Robert Stolarik for The New York Times ] Midwood, NY – The community came out en masse on Thursday to mourn the death of an eight-year-old boy with “a pure holy soul,” killed after a vicious fire ravaged the top floor of a three-story home on Avenue P.

    Fire officials said the three-alarm fire near East 12th Street broke out around 9:45 pm the night before, as the children were preparing for bed in their candle-lit third-floor Midwood apartment and some 20 people were eating outside, observing the last night of the holiday of Sukkot, a seven-day festival where Jews eat in booths to mark their 40-years in desert exile after escaping Egypt.

    Witnesses said parents Jacob and Hannah Krasny were outside when they heard their children screams pierce the evening calm.

    “They were in the sukkah — they didn’t even know at first,” said Mordi Sadaka, 12, an area resident.

    The father reportedly tried to pull his six children out two at a time. The mother soothed her terrified kids, holding the hand of her youngest, repeating, “Mommy’s here with you.”

    The kids’ father heroically ran into his burning home multiple times and rescued five of his children but tragically couldn’t reach an 8-year-old boy trying to escape the flames through a third-floor window.

    “I saw the boy hanging out of the window screaming as firefighters started to rescue him,” said a neighbor, David Cohen.

    “I was around the corner when I heard an explosion and I started smelling smoke,” said a woman who lives nearby.

    “I looked up and saw huge flames licking the sky coming from the middle of the house from the attic.”

    Another witness, who also asked not to be identified, saw “the father running back into the house when it was still on fire to bring back all the kids to the mom.

    “I don’t know how he made it out alive.”

    The children were screaming,” said Rebecca Liss. “The parents heard them, but it was too late.”
    Fatal Fire at Avenue P, Brooklyn,NY
    But no one could get to his son, Avigdor, whom witnesses saw running back and forth in front of his bedroom window before he disappeared in the choking smoke of the three-alarm fire.

    “Avigdor was trapped in his bedroom,” said Avi Litowitz, 44. “He had no way out.”

    Despite his efforts, the dad couldn’t make it past the intense flames that trapped his third-floor bedroom. The boy was pronounced dead at Coney Island Hospital at approximately midnight.

    “I saw him holding his head and crying” afterward, the witness said.

    Fire Chief Michael Marone said the “flames were substantial and [the child] was trapped in his bedroom.

    “It was very tough to get him out because the flames were at the very top, which is where he was trapped.”
    A child is rushed from an apartment fire in Midwood, Brooklyn, that killed an 8-year-old boy and injured five of his siblings.
    Four children – a 10-year-old boy named Benjamin, a 7-year-old boy, a 5-year-old girl named Miriam and a 3-year-old boy named Yitzhak – were all taken to a burn unit at Staten Island University Hospital North, officials said.

    All except Miriam, who is in serious condition, were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

    “The whole community is mourning,” said Ben Greiper, a rabbi. “These were amazing people. We’re all devastated.”

    A day after the fire, children’s bicycles littered the front yard, the frame of baby stroller sat cockeyed near rain-soaked trash. The sick smell of smoke lingered heavy in the humid air.

    “This takes away the whole pleasure of the holiday,” said neighbor Ben Kohen.

    As neighbors gathered, workers covered the gaping hole torn into the side of the home by firefighters the night before.

    Those who knew the family said they generally kept to themselves.

    “They were very quiet,” said Mayer Sakkal, who lives across the street. “It’s a real shame. This doesn’t happen around here.”

    Thirteen-year-old Esther Sadaka described Avigdor as “very sweet and kind of shy.”

    Five other children, ranging from 1 to 10 years old, were injured in the blaze. A 1-year old girl was in critical condition at Staten Island University Hospital North, and four others — a 3-year-old boy, a 5-year-old girl, a 7-year-old boy and a 10-year-old boy — were in stable condition at the same hospital.

    At press time, the cause of the fire was still unknown, though a fire official at the scene said the blaze started in the kitchen, and speculated that a ‘blech’ — a hotplate used by observant Jews so as not to violate the prohibition of cooking during the Sabbath or certain holidays — may have been the root of the tragedy.

    The fire marshals were exploring whether the hot plate – left plugged in to warm food during the holiday – sparked the three-alarm blaze, sources said. FDNY officials said the cause was still under investigation late yesterday.

    Also a number of mattresses were strewn about the floor. The mattresses may have helped spread the flames, fire officials said.

    Roughly 20 people were in the house at the time of the fire, which was occupied by two separate families. Neighbors said the Krasnys lived on the third floor, a day care center operated from the basement ofthe property, and a rabbi also maintained a room in the home.

    Members of the family who lived below the Krasny’s refused to discuss the fire.

    “What else can be added to the story?” a woman asked.

    Two festive holidays directly follow Sukkot: Shemini Atzeret, which translates to “the eighth day of assembly,” and Simchat Torah, a celebration marking the completion of the yearly cycle of Torah readings.

    But there was no joy on Avenue P, where Jews from around the world — including Iran, Egypt, and Europe — live.

    “It’s a Jewish family. It’s a sad thing for all of us,” said one resident who didn’t give his name.

    Four firefighters suffered minor injuries.

    It took more than an hour to get the three-alarm blaze under control.

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    25 COMMENTS

    1. This is a terrible tragedy, we are saddened by this .. we hope your children will get better quickly, and we are so sorry for the loss of your son Avigdor Krasney.

    2. we are so sorry for your loss, we are mourning with you. we hope and pray a refuah shlemah for all your children in the hospital. you are in our thoughts and heart Avigdor Krasney.

    3. BDE You are supposed to teach your children Fire Evacuation safety. You left your children unattended while you adults enjoyed your meals? How many more children are going to die at the negligence of parents? Is it child negligence if the parents are eating outside in the sukkah while the children are unattended in their rooms. Refuah Sheleima for the other children.

    4. Why would the house be lit with candles with these yinglach sleeping by themselves inside while all the adults were outside. Its sickening to read of such tragedies time after time because of the negligence of adults. It would be much better to eat cold food on yom tov or even actually turn on the stove a few times than to take even the slightest risk that turns into such a tragedy. Hashem yarahchem and a refuah shlemah to those who were hurt.

      • You accuse the parents of leaving unattended candles, Something not discussed or even mentioned as suspect in the article. Why do you do this? And you assume that the family did not practice fire safety, another accusation with no foundation. It is not fool proof. I know a family that had an evacuation plan and even used to have fire drills and they nebach lost a teenage child in a fire even with the fire drills.

        You are probably a child abuser or even worse. I cannot fathom otherwise hearing such horrible accusations and false ones at that from you.

        Do the world a favor, turn your children over to child protective services and have yourself spayed and locked up. The world would then be a better place.

    5. 7 and 8 ( probably the same lost soul) the fire started from a hot plate… and they were right there on porch..u dont have to stay next to your kids beds.

      u should look in the mirror and then ask michila from these special people!

    6. The names are:
      Shimon Ben Chana,
      Nosson Tzvi Ben Chana,
      Miriam Bas Chana,
      Yitzchok Eisick Ben Chana,
      Etya Bas Chana.
      Refuah Sheleima Bsoch Sheor Cholei Yisroel.

    7. I raised my children with fire safety understanding and instructions, as an adult I have always made sure that fires, candles and such were secure. I know local Rabbiam and communities are very careful to disseminate information regarding safety surrounding these issues – I truly believe that some people do not listen or feel that being “machmir” or “god fearing” will protect them – such IGNORANCE!. “BH” my family survived similar tragedy, but then again – I choose to understand that I must use my mind (the one Hashem gave) me, not only for Torah, but for common sense and safety. May the family be healed (a complete refuah) and return to each other with love and may the parents learn to be more watchful – knowing that they are the guardians of their children -Hashem helps, but we must do the “work:.

    8. An electrical fire can start and spread very quickly despite reasonable precaution. Fire evacuation safety skills do not always work in such fires, particularly with young sleeping children. The media has not verified all alleged facts in their news articles.

      It is wrong for readers to accuse parents in a sukkah at the premises of negligence when they obviously entered frequently between dishes served during the meal. The responsible parent ensures that children go to sleep at appropriate times even if the meal lasts past bedtime.

      Refuah Shlaima and a Nechama to the family and community.

      • We are required by law to put alarms in our homes. The older kids might have been sleeping but would have heard the noise. And had they practice fire safety evacuation the older kids might have been able to grab the younger kids and get out. Our community needs to stop making excuses. I am hoping the fire department can have a meeting because unfortunately fliers aren’t going to help. I thought NYC required that each door must poor fire safty evacuations I have one. I understand hot plates can catch on fire. Alarms work. Either way the children were still unattended.

    9. donations can also be donated by cantacting Rabbi Miller’s shul

      Congregation Bais Yisroel Of Rugby
      1821 Ocean Parkway
      Brooklyn, NY 11223-3050
      Phone:(718) 376-9689
      the levaya will be held at 12:00pm today at the shul

    10. chfinman -Thank you posting. Very few people teach fire safety to their family.
      Besuros toivos – While it’s true that some fires can spread faster than others, it’s not true that evacuation skills do not always work in such fires. If you can’t evacuate in time, it’s because your fire safety skills are lacking.

    11. 7&8 SORRY you don’t know what you are talking about

      Even with fire alarms children don’t wake up from the alarm. There was a report recently
      that even the loud sound of a fire alarm does not wake up sleeping children or adults only by somebody calling their name such as Moshe, Yitzy wakes them up. It is written when you call there name it goes to their neshamah. It is a horrible story but the father did whatever he could. Number 7 & 8
      you should never be insuch a position. Now please retrack your statements

    12. This is indeed a tragedy, thank you #13 for the details on where to send assistance.

      But, most of you are missing the point here. Again.

      #7 and #8, your comments are heartless and pointless. But then again, #1 “hashem yishmareni” and #2 “cup full of tears”, while not heartless, are equally pointless!

      The right thing to do here is to learn from this tragedy, to make sure that it never happens to others. The fact is that many in our communities don’t treat fire with the respect it deserves. I know of too many who leave shabbos candles unattended because they are off to shul or got invited out. Same for chanukah candles. I’ve seen families sitting in their sukkah with candles inside not within line of sight. I even saw a candle fall on to a tablecloth at a function in a shul on shabbos, and then watched a small group of heiliger idiots debate (in a shul hall full of families) whether it was ok to put out the fire (until I did so myself!). I know of families who have no smoke detectors, and one who took the batteries out because they made too much noise on shabbos. And most frum families I know don’t even have a fire extinguisher in their kitchen.

      Use this tragedy as a lesson!

    13. I feel really bad for the family and even more disgusted at some of the terrible comments accusing the parents of negligence. You people giving mussar and criticizing should be ashamed of yourselves for speaking lashon hara. You don’t know all the facts and most likely never will know for sure exactly how the fire started. Saying that they shouldn’t have been eating in the sukka is ridiculous. You probably don’t have children and don’t understand they need to go to sleep at a certain time. And to the people saying fire alarms would have helped, I say have you ever slept through a very loud alarm clock? I have and know plenty of other people who have. Everyone here should be trying to console the parents for their loss.

    14. This is surely a great tragedy, but why are all of you beating up on #7 and #8?

      Why doesn’t anyone take #16, for example, to task?

      He “read somewhere” that alarms don’t work, so we shouldn’t use them? only by calling the names do you reach the neshama and wake the person up?

      Am I the only person terrified by the incredible stupidity of such a comment? Does he mean that if I call my children by their English names they would not wake up? Does he think there is no point to fire alarms? do all goyim die in their sleep in a fire?

      This was a terrible tragedy, but if you have twenty people in two apartments, plus a Rabbi “renting” a room, and a day-care center in the basement, then you need more than a call to “moishe and yitzy’s neshamas” to prepare for fire safety.

    15. reply to #18:

      You are a typical apologist and rationalizer.

      This was a tterrible tragedy. But because someone might have once slept through an alarm we should not use fire alarms at all? What makes you think that writers don’t have kids? nobody said they shouldn’t go to sleep at a certain time, you’re just trying to misdirect the issue.

      your comments directed at people you don’t know about things and events YOU don’t know are as much loshon hora as you accuse THEM of.

    16. 16 & 18 – I’m sure 7& 8 didn’t mean to belittle the tragedy, only that people should learn from it. Even if you found an article that says that, most of the time it will wake up anyone. Also, even if you’re right, nowadays they have alarms that talk; I have one, but obviously it doesn’t say my name -it says something like -warning fire. You can’t sleep through it. Also, if the house had the proper amount of detectors, you definitely can hear it down the block let alone in a sukkah. The attitude that there is nothing to do for prevention is equivalent to the ostrich putting it’s head in the sand. I’ve been a fire safety instructor close to twenty years and almost noone frum wants to take the course. I’ve found that either they think they know fire safety (which BTW 99% of people don’t) or they think it won’t happen to them. The only way it won’t happen to them is “Shomer Pissayim Hashem”.

    17. All those that blame the parents when tragedies happen, do it only to convince themselves that it won’t happen to them. Like I have a smoke alarm so my kids will never die from a fire, or I never let my kids out alone so they will never be kidnapped. Don’t talk so boldly, tragedies happen, and they are not always in our control.

    18. What a horrible tragedy. All homes should be equipped with ABC fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and rope ladders where people can climb out of the windows to safety.

      In addition, leaving appliances burning for 72 + hours straight for the 3 day Yom Tovim is also asking for trouble. More use should be made of Timers to turn the appliances on and of.

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