Firefighting (illustrative)
Firefighting (illustrative)Flash90

The Brooklyn fire which killed an Orthodox Jewish family of 7 over Saturday (Shabbat) is an "unbelievable tragedy," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated after visiting the scene. 

"It it unimaginable what you see in there," he said. "You can literally see what was a home for a large and strong family, and now it is wiped out. Every room empty and burned and charred."

"You can only imagine this beautiful, vibrant family 24 hours ago alive, intact, and now so many lost and two clinging to life," he added.

A hot plate apparently malfunctioned and sparked an electrical fire overnight Friday/Saturday, trapping the family inside their Midwood home as they slept. Orthodox Jews leave hot plates on during Shabbat to keep food warm according to halakha (Jewish law - ed.). 

Firefighters were called to the blaze in the home in the borough of Brooklyn shortly after midnight. The victims were aged between 5 and 15.

A 45-year-old woman thought to be their mother and another girl, 14, escaped by jumping out of windows and were being treated in area hospitals in critical condition.