Toddler Killed in Brooklyn Blaze, Mother Saves 5

NEW YORK-- A fire killed a 7-month-old baby in Brooklyn yesterday - despite the brave efforts of his mother, who saved at least five other children.

The midday blaze started in the attic of a two-story house at 604 E. Third St. when a timer attached to an air conditioner's power cord overheated, said FDNY spokesman Tony Sclafani.

Neighbors said the mom evacuated her other kids from the lower floors but couldn't battle through the black smoke and raging flames separating her from her youngest child.

"She was screaming that she'd left the baby in the attic," said Michael Nechmad, 34.

Firefighters chopped a hole in the roof of the wood-frame building but couldn't save the baby. It took them 30 minutes to get the fire under control.

No smoke detectors were found in the home, officials said.

Neighbors described the father as a Talmudic scholar and said the mother works at a Jewish school for girls.

"These kids are so good," said a mourning Mahabub Rahaman, 35, who lives next door.

He recalled that "one time, a ball came into my house and their boy didn't enter [to retrieve it] without asking permission."

"I feel really, really, sorry for [the parents]. Once I heard the baby was killed, I was shocked," said Rahaman, the father of a 2-year-old daughter.

Said Nechmad, "Today is Simchat Torah, the finishing of the Bible, so we dance because we're happy.

"Orthodox Jews are not permitted to bury the baby [at this time]. Nor can they mourn."

Republished with permission of The New York Post.

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