The flames broke out just before 8 a.m. at the Congregation Bais Aharon on 18th Avenue in Borough Park, at the synagogue founded by State Senator Simcha Felder's late father in the 1950s.
"We had a fire in the first floor of a two-story house of worship," FDNY Deputy Chief James Boylan said. "Members removed three people from the second floor, a mother and two children. Hatzolah Ambulance Services removed State Senator Felder's mother from the first floor prior to units arrival. She was removed in a wheelchair. Everybody is doing OK."
ALSO READ | Historic nearly 300-year-old bell will ring again after surviving NYC church fire
The woman and the children were carried down a ladder by firefighters.
"The guys did a great job," Boylan said. "They saved some lives, they saved some sacred documents, so that's a win for the FDNY."
Rabbi Leonard Unger called the rescues a miracle.
"The fire department? They're going to go straight to heaven when their time comes," he said. "Right to the Kingdom of God."
Firefighters desperately but deliberately ran a ladder to a rear window and carefully lowered the children and their mother to safety moments before the flames ripped through their upstairs apartment.
"I saw miracles this morning with them," Rabbi Unger said. "They're so intense in what they're doing. They don't see anything. They ran up, they took her and the children down."
He said he ran up to one of the firefighters and couldn't help himself.
"I kissed him on the shoulder," he said.
The fire left the building gutted, but the sacred Torahs were saved.
It’s devastating to see Congregation Beth Aaron in flames — and yet, what a miracle that the Torah scrolls weren’t damaged and thank God no one was hurt.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) December 16, 2020
To my friend @NYSenatorFelder, his family and the entire Boro Park community: your city will be with you as you rebuild. https://t.co/HAnlxrFOkr
"It's been a hub in the community for prayer services, three times a day, seven days a week," Hatzolah liaison Jack Meyer said. "And they just finished services apparently this morning as well."
The fire was under control within an hour.
ALSO READ | 5 injured in Brooklyn high-rise building fire
No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
* More Brooklyn news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip