Fast-Acting Passerby Saves Brooklyn Synagogue From Arsonist Attack In Broad Daylight

Miracle on 38th street: Suspected arson fire breaks out at Borough Park, Brooklyn, synagogue when passerby grabs frie extinguisher and snufs out the blaze. Joe Marino for News

A couple of quick-thinking mensches saved a Brooklyn synagogue from burning down Sunday morning after an arsonist set fire to the wooden lectern.


Yitzchok Friedman, 30, was changing the tire on his minivan at 10 a.m. when he spotted smoke billowing out of the Krasna Bais Medrash, located at 1462 38th St. in Borough Park.

"I right away opened the door. I covered my face with my jacket," he told the Daily News hours afterward.

After a quick look, he stepped back to dial 911 and grabbed a fire extinguisher from a paper goods store across the street.

Moshe Friedlander, the store's owner, and Friedman both raced back inside. They searched for anyone trapped and frantically worked to extinguish the flames shooting out of the synagogue's bimah, a wooden lectern used to hold the Torah during services.

"But for [Friedman] the entire building would have burnt down," said City Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), who visited the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, an FDNY spokesman said.

Authorities do not believe it was a bias attack, according to a source. "They are looking into several people from the [synagogue]," the source said.

Friedman said he spotted someone inside when he first entered the yeshiva study hall, which is doubling as a synagogue during the Jewish High Holy Days.

"I couldn't see who it was," he added.


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