By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
New York — June 15, 2019 … A massive fire in Brooklyn, New York destroyed at least three buildings early Thursday morning, injuring at least 12 people, including a baby.
The fire broke out just after 4 AM at the two-family home of Rabbi Jonathan Max, and quickly spread to both neighboring houses.
“There is no question that everyone is alive today because the houses had working smoke detectors,” said Misaskim director Yanky Meyer. “There were only seconds for people to be able to get out here. There were no minutes.”
Meyer said that a Jewish family with a six week old baby was trapped in the attic in one of the adjacent homes as the fire raged on the stairs, their only exit. The family was evacuated by the fire department who used a ladder truck to extricate them from the burning building.
Video from the scene showed flames leaping from the roof of one home, and the structure to its left already little more than a charred hulk. Firefighters reported that two roofs had completely collapsed.
While Investigators are tight lipped, sources say the fire is believed to have been set by at least one man, who has a history of anti-semitic acts and targeted Rabbi Max, a teacher at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin.
An accelerant is believed to have been used in the fire with raw video footage showing the massive blaze erupting in a matter of seconds.
In a press conference held this morning, Fire Chief Thomas Richardson said that it took less than five minutes for the FDNY to respond to the fire, with all three homes already engulfed by the time fire crews arrived on scene. The fire was upgraded to a three alarm fire within five minutes, with 40 fire units, 25 EMS members and 170 firefighters keeping the flames from spreading to additional homes. The fire was upgraded to a four alarm fire before it was finally brought under control after 7 AM this morning.
Three adults, a baby and one firefighter were all hospitalized for injuries and/or smoke inhalation. All are in stable condition.
The Jewish community in the United States experienced near-historic levels of anti-Semitism last year, with attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions doubling in number, according to new data from the Anti-Defamation League.
A total of 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents across the United States were reported in 2018, the third-highest year on record since the tracking of such data in the 1970s. Those incidents included cases of assaults, harassment and vandalism.
A professional, non-profit organization JewishSecurityServices.com has been created in the US to address anti-semitism with the creation of security plans for synagogues that includes security training for hundreds of Jewish communities. Jewish Security Services is presently seeking investors and partners with the mission of securing all Jewish communities in the US. The founders of Jewish Security Services are security and anti-terrorism professionals from both Israel and the United States.