Thousands of mourners gathered at the Sheves Achim synagogue in Brooklyn Monday night to pay their last respects to the four members of the Azan family who lost their lives when their Sheepshead-area home went up in flames early Monday morning.
Aliza Azan, 39, and three of her children – Moshe, 11, Yitzchak, 7, and three-year-old Henrietta – perished in the tragedy, while her husband, Joseph, 45 remains in critical condition. The couple’s daughter, Shilat, 16, and their son, Daniel, 15 are in serious condition.
The remains of the four Azan family members killed in the blaze are scheduled to be brought to Israel for burial. The funeral service in Israel is slated for 9:30 a.m. in Holon.
The Fire Department of New York said Monday that Joseph Azan likely saved two of his children’s lives – while risking his own.
Joseph returned repeatedly to the home despite the inferno inside to carry his children to safety. Azan also attempted to rescue his wife and other children, but was unable to reach them. Joseph suffered severe burns and smoke inhalation during his heroic rescue efforts.
The three Azan family members who were hospitalized after the fire – Joseph, Shilat, and Daniel – are being treated at Staten Island University Hospital.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that Joseph “was severely burned trying to get back to save the rest of his family, the ones he didn’t already save. We believe that he acted very courageously and tried desperately.”
“Hopefully it didn’t cost his life also, but it may.”
When the fire broke out just before 2:30 a.m. Monday morning, Avraham Azan, 13, and a cousin who was sleeping over, were woken up by a fire alarm, and managed to escape unharmed. Both had been sleeping on the ground floor of the house.
After rushing outside, Joseph went back into the burning house, made his way through the smoke and flames to the second floor, and helped his daughter Shilat and son Daniel, who had been sleeping on the second floor, jump to safety from a window. Shilat suffered a broken pelvis from the jump, and all three suffered burns and smoke inhalation.
Earlier this year, the Azan family celebrated their son Avraham's Bar Mitzvah in Israel - the last time the family's relatives there saw the Azan family before the tragedy.