Toddler 'extremely critical' after Brooklyn menorah fire

December 17, 2009 3:34:38 PM PST
A burning menorah is likely to blame for causing an overnight fire that now has a young girl fighting for her life. Firefighters crawled through the smoke to rescue the child.

"It's a tragedy, it's a tragedy when something like this happens. What can you do? This shouldn't happen to anyone," neighbor Naftuli Schwartz said.

An anguished community is trying to understand how a religious celebration could lead to something so horrible.

Now, a 3-year-old girl is fighting for her life with severe burns.

The most likely culprit, authorities say, was the family's oil-burning Hanukkah menorah, which firefighters say likely toppled over and sparked the blaze.

The fire broke out in the 47th Avenue house sometime after 10 p.m. Monday.

The girl was home with her twin sister, another sibling, and a 71-year-old babysitter. The others all got out on their own, but arriving firefighters had to save the girl.

"One of the firefighters found the 3-year-old on the floor," FDNY Deputy Chief William Tanzosh said. "He pulled her out and handed her to the ambulance, who was right outside."

Now this community is praying she survives.

"I hope God sends a speedy recovery to the child," said Tzivia Fryer.

Firefighters say there were no working smoke detectors in the home. However, the say that probably had very little impact on the final outcome because the fire spread so quickly in the living room.

Volunteers and paramedics rushed to the little girl's aid. She was rushed to the burn unit at Staten Island University Hospital in "extremely critical" condition.

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