By COLlive staff
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced a borough-wide fire safety education campaign, following a fatal fire Saturday in Midwood that claimed the lives of seven siblings, aged five to 16, from the Sassoon family.
Additionally, Adams called for the creation of a burn center in Brooklyn which, despite being home to the fourth-largest population in the United States, currently has no such facility; the Sassoon family’s mother and one of her daughters are currently in critical condition at burn centers in the Bronx and Staten Island, respectively, after sustaining severe burns and smoke inhalation.
“We must turn our pain into purpose in the wake of this horrific tragedy, and the memories of the seven Sassoon children are the seven most important reasons for us to act with urgency,” Adams said.
“The prayers of Brooklyn, New York City, and indeed the entire world are with this family and the entire Midwood community, which has lost seven angels far too soon. In their blessed memory, we must go above the call of duty and do everything we can to advance fire safety, supporting the hard-working men and women of the FDNY that responded with valor to this terrible incident.”
The fire safety education effort will include multilingual outreach, including translation of materials in Spanish, Yiddish, and other key languages, as well as the distribution of free smoke detectors, examples of which were on display at his press conference.
He expressed that his office will distribute materials at train stations, senior centers, and other high-traffic locations, as well as partner on fire safety events around the borough.
Adams also noted the importance of local fire safety education efforts due to the high number of fires in the borough; in 2014, there were 8,041 structural fires in Brooklyn, more than any other borough and 30 percent of the citywide total.
“We need to re-educate every Brooklynite and every New Yorker on fire safety, which is why my office is embarking on a major fire safety education effort with our partners in the FDNY and community leaders,” said the Borough President.
“Basic safety tips must be repeated and ingrained in our collective consciousness, to ensure that we are all limiting our fire risk. We will work to get this information out to every corner of the borough, communicating in the languages that Brooklyn speaks every day.”
Regarding his call for the first burn center in Brooklyn, Adams asked all of the borough’s hospitals, both public and private, to put forward any and all proposals. He expressed that any such plan that he feels is strong would be supported with funding from his capital budget.
“Brooklyn’s lack of a burn center is not just an emotional burden to families who are removed from their loved ones; it is a potential medical liability,” said Borough President Adams.
“Burn center care, like medical services at trauma centers, has been linked to improved survival rates, decreased hospital costs, and shorter lengths of in-patient care. This is not just about borough equity; this is about providing the necessary medical infrastructure that can save lives. I look forward to addressing this gap in care and working to bring the first burn center to the borough.”
Adams was joined by elected officials and Jewish leaders, including Chanina Sperlin of Crown Heights, who have been deeply impacted by this loss in their community, inside FDNY headquarters at MetroTech Center, where all spoke about the need to emphatically respond to this tragedy.