NEW YORK(CBSNewYork/AP) — Funeral services were held on Sunday for the seven brothers and sisters who were killed in a tragic Brooklyn house fire.

The bodies of the children, ages 5 to 16, were flown to Israel for a prompt burial after Sunday’s service at Shomrei Hadas Chapel.

A procession followed the funeral to JFK Airport, where the children were placed on an El Al flight to Tel Aviv.

PHOTOS: Brooklyn Fire Kills 7 Children | Funeral For Children Killed In Brooklyn Fire

Mourners stood outside as speakers amplified the anguished words of Gabriel Sassoon talking about the seven children he has lost, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported.

“There’s only one way to survive this: it’s complete and total, utter surrender,” the grieving father said.

As mourners cried in the streets, Sassoon eulogized his children.

“My children were unbelievable. They were the best,” he said. “They were so pure.”

Assemblyman Dov Hikind said he was blown away by the father’s message, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.

“Hug your children, kiss your children, tell them you love them even when they make mistakes and you disagree with them. That’s what the father said who just lost seven kids, Hikind said.

“To have the father get up and teach us about faith in God — wow,” he added.

The children’s mother and one surviving sibling — Gayle Sassoon and 14-year-old Siporah Sassoon — remain hospitalized and were last listed in critical condition.

When firefighters showed up at the Midwood home on Bedford Avenue shortly after midnight on Saturday it was engulfed in flames, CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported.

Eliane Sassoon, 16; David, 12; Rivka, 11; Yeshuva, 10; Moshe, 8; Sara, 6; and 5-year-old Yaakob were found trapped in their second floor bedrooms and could not be saved.

“I was up in the back room upstairs. I hear screaming from a child, ‘mommy, mommy, help me,'” neighbor Andrew Rosenblatt said.

Those screams prompted Rosenblatt to call 911.

“The smoke and flames were horrible. They were from both sides. It was a terrible thing,” he said through tears.

The children’s mother and teenage sister jumped out of a window to escape the burning home.

“I was in the bedroom on the second floor. I heard someone screaming ‘fire fire,'” said neighbor Simon Bouhadana.

And when Bouhadana ran outside his home, “I saw the girl. She’s right about here, walking. I didn’t recognize her, she was pitch black.”

The father — a religious education instructor — was in Manhattan at a Shabbaton, an educational celebration held on a Sabbath.

Investigators said a hot plate caused the fire. It was left on to keep food warm and somehow malfunctioned.

Hot plates are typically used during the Sabbath, something Assemblyman Hikind said the Jewish community should reconsider for safety reasons.

“My daughter, she has six children. I was waiting for the Sabbath to be over so I could call her and tell her, ‘don’t use the hot plate again. I want to talk to you about it,'” Hikind said.

The outcome was so devastating that Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the home. He and other city leaders were trying to comfort the tight knit Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, now struggling with an overwhelming loss.

“The children were so lovely. Whenever it snowed they would clean my walk without even telling me. I would give them lollipops and they were so happy with the lollipops,” neighbor Rose Insel said.

A candlelight vigil was held on March 22, 2015 for seven children killed in a Midwood, Brooklyn house fire  (credit: Roger Stern/1010 WINS)

A candlelight vigil was held on March 22, 2015 for seven children killed in a Midwood, Brooklyn house fire (credit: Roger Stern/1010 WINS)

It’s a loss matched in intensity perhaps only by an outpouring of community support, CBS2’s Steve Langford reported.

“An unspeakable tragedy such as this unfortunately requires that the best is brought out of the community around you,” said Flatbush resident Chaskel Bennett.

The community held a vigil Sunday evening. Sen. Charles Schumer was among those who spoke to mourners.

The crowd said prayers in honor of the family and left candles lit on the sidewalk outside the home, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported.

“We are absolutely reeling. We cry as one community, we celebrate as one community and today we are extraordinarily sad,” said Chaskel Bennett co-founder of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition.

Sen. Charles Schumer speaks at vigil for seven children killed in Midwood, Brooklyn house fire (credit: Roger Stern/1010 WINS)

Sen. Charles Schumer speaks at vigil for seven children killed in Midwood, Brooklyn house fire (credit: Roger Stern/1010 WINS)

The FDNY also gave out free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors down the block from where the children died on Sunday.

Neighbors lined up, some just to show that the children’s death was not in vain.

“I do have detectors, but an additional one wouldn’t hurt,” Rich Waterman said.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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