Rabbi and family overcome after fire at Brooklyn building with synagogue

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Friday, March 29, 2024
5 hurt in fire at building that houses synagogue in Brooklyn
N.J. Burkett has the story in Brooklyn on the fire.

MAPLETON, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Five people were injured after a fire started in an apartment in a mixed occupancy building that also houses a synagogue.

Authorities say the fire occurred at the building on 60th Street just after 6:20 a.m. Friday.

The building houses a synagogue on the ground floor and two apartments on the second and third floors.

The fire nearly claimed the life of their beloved rabbi, Burach Avrhom Horowitz. He, his wife Esther and their extended family were rescued by firefighters after they were overcome by the choking smoke.

"We saw the rabbi, his wife and his son all dangling out of that that window, out the top window," said neighbor Joel Schlesinger. "And, you know, thank God the FDNY pulled up and got them all together and got them out safely."

Neighbors say nine children were among the residents-sleeping when the fire broke out in a kitchen in a second floor apartment.

Lidel Perlstein is a member of the congregation.

"Everything was engulfed in flames, smoke and fire, so they couldn't go down," Perlstein said. "So this was a miracle. So they jumped out. They jumped the window and landed on that ledge. So when the fire department came, the three of them were hanging there. And, you know, thanks to New York City's Bravest, they got here on time. They managed to pull up the bucket and they managed to escape."

The synagogue is home to a small ultra-Orthodox congregation known as Darkai Chaim Stavnitz -- a fixture in the community for more than a decade.

On Friday worshippers salvaged what they could from whatever wasn't burned or soaked.

"The community is pouring out support for whatever whatever is needed," Perlstein said. "And we're all praying and hoping that, you know, they'll have a speedy recovery. And the rabbi will be back to us."

As for the cause, a family friend says the rabbi's daughter was married Thursday night and the family left leftovers warming in the oven overnight, and that's what sparked the fire.

Two remained hospitalized late Friday afternoon-the rabbi and his teenaged son. Both are expected to recover.


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