In Wake of Sassoon Tragedy, New Canaan’s Fire Marshal Urges Smoke Detector Checks

After a malfunctioning hotplate last weekend sparked a fire that killed seven children in Brooklyn, ages 5 to 16, fire officials in New Canaan are urging residents to make sure they’re taking safety precautions.

The Sassoon children— girls Eliane, 16, Rivka, 11, and Sarah, 6, and four boys, David, 12, Yehoshua, 10, Moshe, 8, and Yaakov, 5—had been sleeping in their bedrooms on the second floor of a home whose only functioning smoke detector was in the basement, investigators say.

“Regardless of the cause, this was a preventable tragedy,” New Canaan Fire Marshal Fred Baker said in a press release. “You may say this can’t happen to me. Can it? When was the last time you tested your smoke and CO detectors to ensure they are working properly?”

The Sassoon family’s mother, Gayle, 45, and daughter Siporah, 15, jumped out of a second-floor window and were critically injured. Their father had been at a religious convention—the family is Orthodox Jewish, and the hotplate was in use as the Sassoons observed the Sabbath prohibition on lighting a flame.

Baker urged residents to have their home alarm systems tested and serviced.

“Do you have enough detectors?” he said. “Are they properly located?”

Anyone seeking advice or assistance may call the Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-594-3030. If desired, Baker said he will provide a home visit, at no cost, to help locate, install and change batteries.

“Please help us to help you,” Baker said. “Take two minutes to verify the safety of your family.”

The Sassoon children were buried Monday in Jerusalem.

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