Authorities are trying to figure out how a massive house fire started in New York City Monday that killed a mother and three children, officials said.
Aliza Azan, 39, was found dead on the second floor of the single-family home, near the children who perished: 11-year-old Moshe; 7-year-old Yitzah and 3-year-old Henrietta.
The father, a 16-year-old female, and a 15-year-old male were taken to Staten Island University Hospital in critical condition while two other boys, 13- and 12-years-old, were transported to Maimonides Hospital with minor injuries, according to the Post.
Six firefighters were injured battling the blaze, according to the New York Daily News.
"The fire traveled very quickly", Nigro said, "The fire went from the first-floor front, up the stairs the second, again up the stairs to the attic".
This is a developing story.
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More than 100 firefighters from 25 units responded to the fire, the spokeswoman said. "The fire did start, and it got a good start before a neighbor noticed it and called us". Firefighters arrived in less than three minutes, and even by then, they were met by intense flames.
"Tragedy strikes at this time of year, and as I say before, this time of year makes it that much sadder", FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
One witness told the media: "The fire was like five feet on top of the house, that big was the fire". "Firefighters went straight into the fire". "Four people died here, a mom and three children".
Azan is a manager at the Hat Box, a menswear store on Coney Island Avenue. He said the father was a native of Israel and had at least six children. "They were the most happy children", friend Edward Nathen said.
Although the cause of the fire still under investigation by fire marshals, the FDNY believes it was likely accidental, possibly set off by a menorah candle or oil that was used to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Mayor Bill de Blasio urged people to be cautious with decorations, electric lights, candles and space heaters during the winter months and the holidays.