Jewish family dies in fire in Buenos Aires neighborhood of Recoleta

Reports in Argentina said that 35 people were wounded in the enormous fire.

Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires (photo credit: Deensel/CC BY 2.0 ( WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires
(photo credit: Deensel/CC BY 2.0 ( WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

A family from the Argentinian Jewish community died on Thursday morning in a large fire that broke out on the seventh floor of a building located a few meters from Córdoba Avenue, in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Recoleta.

According to the Jewish Latin American news agency AJN, five members of the Jewish Jabbaz family died in the fire: A grandmother, mother and her three children. The father of the family, Loni Jabbaz, is intubated in an intensive care unit in serious condition.

The tragic fatal disaster was reported by the head of the SAME (the Buenos Aires city public emergency medical services system), Dr. Alberto Crescenti, who arrived at the scene with more than 20 ambulances. Reports in Argentina mentioned 35 wounded in the enormous fire, who were hospitalized in different Buenos Aires healthcare centers.

The Jabbaz family are members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Buenos Aires. According to reports in Argentinian media, the family was sleeping when the flames broke out and there are still several hypotheses about the origin of this fire, which caused the deployment of many firefighters and the intervention of dozens of ambulances.

“I have just left the burnt apartment with the prosecutor,” Federation of Argentine Jewish Communities president Eliahu Hamra told The Jerusalem Post. “The investigation claims that the fire was caused by accident, yet the source of the accident is still unclear.”

Hamra affirmed that the father of the Jabbaz family is in critical condition and has been “transferred to another hospital,” because of his dramatic condition. “We see an amazing Jewish community mobilization in Argentina and from around the world in order to support and help the Jabbaz family,” Hamra said.

“The family’s apartment on the 7th floor is completely scorched,” he said. The community is overwhelmed and in shock. We’re not used to such tragedies. This is a terrible disaster. We hope that the deceased will arrive at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in the coming hours and that the families will be able to speed up the time of the funerals before the beginning of the Shabbat on Friday evening.”

'Terrible fire'

The AMIA, Argentinian Jewry's umbrella organization condoled the family and community on Twitter: "With deep regret, we express our condolences to the loved ones of the people who died in the terrible fire this morning, in the building on Ecuador Street. We wish for the speedy recovery of those injured in this tragedy that saddens the entire society."

"[I am] Heartbroken to hear about [the] fire that broke out in the home of the Jewish Jabbaz family that has claimed the lives of five, including a mother and her children," Diaspora Affairs minister Nachman Shai tweeted. "I spoke with the President of the Jewish community in Buenos Aires and expressed condolences on behalf of the State of Israel. There are no words to describe this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected, their families and with Argentina. On behalf of the State of Israel, we stand with you and are here for any assistance you may need."