Woman caught on camera dousing Yeshiva with gasoline, lighting it on fire in Brooklyn

FLATBUSH, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Police in Brooklyn are searching for a woman who was caught on camera lighting a Jewish school on fire. They believe she may be a mentally ill woman seen in the area.

It happened on Thursday at 7:27 p.m. at the Yeshiva of Flatbush on Avenue J.

The woman can be seen dressed all in black and carrying a red gasoline can.

WATCH | Arson suspect caught on surveillance camera
EMBED More News Videos

Police release new video of the woman caught on camera dousing a Brooklyn Yeshiva with gasoline and lighting it on fire.



Police say she walked up to the Yeshiva, doused the area in gasoline, and lit it on fire.

A security guard inside the school saw what was going on and he was able to put out the fire with water.

The woman is described as approximately 5'4" tall, with an average build, dark hair and wearing all dark-colored clothing, black shoes, and carrying a red gasoline canister.


NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the fire, but detectives suspect the woman may be a mentally ill resident who lives nearby, so it is not clear if the case will remain a bias crime.

They are also investigating whether the woman captured on surveillance is the same woman spotted shortly before the fire, carrying a red gas canister and yelling through a megaphone, on Nostrand Avenue and Ave J.



Fortunately, no one was injured in this incident.

Yeshiva of Flatbush Rabbi Joseph Beyda believes the incident could be teachable moment for the students.

"I think you're, you're right to say it's a teachable moment for all of us, and of what kind of city we want to have, and what it takes to educate, so, yeah," he said.

Midwood is said to be home to the largest community of Holocaust survivors outside the state of Israel. Regardless of the motive, an arson fire outside a local yeshiva has left residents badly shaken.

"As a result of occurrences like this, it just adds to the fire-if I dare say-of these occurrences happening and happening and other times when people do know what they're doing. That's what we're worried about," New York State Senator Simcha Felder said.

Police are offering a $3,500 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

MORE NEWS | Name that pooch: New York Islanders adopt 3rd 'Puppy with a Purpose'
EMBED More News Videos

The New York Islanders have drafted their third "Puppy with a Purpose," and they want your help finding a name.



----------
* More Brooklyn news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.