Argentine prosecutors handling the case of Thursday's fire at a building in Buenos Aires' Recoleta neighborhood where 5 members of a Jewish family were killed Friday explained that according to preliminary forensic assessments the cause of ignition was a faulty skateboard lithium battery.
The origin of the fire was the lithium batteries of a skateboard that was in the living room, prosecutor Sebastián Fedullo said. The batteries began to emit flames causing the fire, but at no time did they explode, according to expert reports. In addition to the five victims, 31 other people were rushed to various hospitals due to the large amounts of smoke they had inhaled.
Sometimes an effect is generated as if it were a flare, which produces a flame that then it spreads, he added. It could have been due to overloading, exposure to the sun or internal failure, but that will be determined by the experts, at a later stage, Fedullo argued.
Sofia Kabudi (53) and her children Rafi Jabbaz (3), Orly Jabbaz (7), Esther Jabbaz (9), and Camila Jabbaz (17) died from carbon monoxide inhalation, according to the autopsies. Isaac Jabbaz (55), Sofia's husband and the father of all the children, was among those hospitalized. He was said to be in a delicate condition.
The fire started at 5.50 a.m. on Thursday on the seventh floor, when the family was sleeping, and quickly spread to the upper floor, so occupants of the entire building needed to be evacuated.
So far, an inspection of the whole structure was carried out by the City Government's emergency services personnel, who have already said that there was no risk either to the damaged apartments or to the rest of the building, Recoleta Firefighter Station Chief Juan Carlos Giordano told reporters.
Presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti expressed the desolation of the national government in the face of the fire and sent condolences to the families of the victims.
Jewish welfare association AMIA also sent its condolences to the loved ones of the people who died in the terrible fire that took place early this morning in the building on Ecuador Street and longed for the prompt recovery of those injured in this tragedy that saddens the whole society.
Also, as investigators said on Thursday, the fire that broke out in the apartment on the seventh floor of the building on Ecuador Street was caused by a lithium battery from a skateboard.
The remains of the five victims were also given funeral services Friday, which were attended by hundreds of members of the Jewish community before the burial at the Bene Emeth cemetery in Lomas de Zamora in the southern outskirts of the Argentine capital.