Man arraigned after fire targeted Brooklyn rabbi's home

MIDWOOD, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A man was arraigned Sunday night after a four-alarm fire burned through three homes, including the home of a rabbi, in Brooklyn.

41-year-old Matthew Karelefsky of McKeesport, Pennsylvania is charged with arson and attempted murder.

The DA said Karelefsky made online postings that he wanted to kill Rabbi Jonathon Maxand.

Flames broke out around 4 a.m. Thursday as families were sleeping in the Midwood home. The fire, which investigators believe started in the car, quickly claimed 1492 E. 17th Street before consuming the walls to neighboring homes. A man, who authorities believe is Karelefsky, was seen on surveillance running from the home.

Officials suspect Karelefsky traveled to Brooklyn to target Rabbi Maxand.

Eyewitness News is told thanks to working smoke detectors, no one died. More than a dozen were injured, including a six-week-old baby, but all are expected to survive.

On Sunday, demolition crews cleared out the ashes of what was the rabbi's home. Amazingly, holy books were spared from the flames.

In addition to the attempted murder and arson charges, an order of protection was issued for the defendant to have no contact with the rabbi.

Karelefsky was not granted bail, so he remains in custody.

The case will go to a grand jury on June 21st.

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