The fire department confirms that a menorah sparked a deadly fire that killed a mother and three of her children in Brooklyn on Monday.
Nine people were sleeping when flames broke out around 2:30 a.m. Monday at a home on East 14th St. in Sheepshead Bay.
The fire department said 40-year-old Aliza Azan was killed along with her children, 11-year-old Moshe, 7-year-old Yitzah, and 3-year-old Henrietta.
Five others were able to escape, but three of them — the father and two teenagers — are in critical condition after jumping from the second-story of the home, according to the city fire department.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the father tried to save his family.
"He was able to get out of the second floor," said Nigro. "He was severely burned, he tried to get back in to save the rest of his family, the ones that he didn't already save. We believe he acted very courageously and tried desperately, and hopefully it didn't cost him his life also, but it may."
Firefighters arrived in less than three minutes, but by then the flames were raging.
Fire marshals later determined the blaze was accidental, caused by a menorah that was lit to celebrate Hanukkah and then left unattended. Members of the Orthodox community said it was likely an oil-fed menorah.
FDNY officials stressed the importance of never going to bed with candles or oil still burning.
"The minimum time is a half-hour," said Josh Mehlman, the chairman of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition. "Some people put it out after that time. If they have to leave, some people let it until it burns out. But it's always best to never leave it unintended."
Mayor Bill de Blasio toured the damage, and released a statement urging New Yorkers to be cautious this holiday season.
"Over the last couple days, several other major fires have caused many injuries — some very serious — and displaced others from their homes," de Blasio said. "We all need to be cautious with decorations, electric lights, candles, space heaters and other items."
Fire officials believe a smoke detector was activated during the fire, which they are crediting for saving the lives of those family members who were lucky enough to escape.