Jews around the world are in a state of mourning after a horrific tragedy struck the Flatbush Jewish community last Wednesday when a fire claimed the life of 8-year-old Avigdor Krasny on the night of Shemini Atzeret. The three-alarm blaze ripped through the second floor apartment of Rabbi and Mrs. Yaakov and Chana Krasny at 1118 Avenue P, between East 12th Street and Coney Island Avenue at approximately 9:30 p.m.
While sitting in the Sukkah, the parents heard the desperate cries of their six children, ranging in ages 1 1/2 through 10 and who were upstairs in bed. Immediately, Rabbi Krasny ran up the steps to the smoke filled apartment and managed to rescue 10-year-old Shimon, 7-year-old Nosson Tzvi, 5-year-old Miriam, 4-year-old Yitzchak Isaac and 1 1/2 year old Etel, but he couldn't reach 8-year-old Avigdor, who was trying to escape the flames through a third floor window. Firefighters finally rescued Avigdor who died of severe smoke inhalation after his arrival at Coney Island Hospital.
Fire Chief Michael Marone said the "flames were substantial and (Avigdor) was trapped in his bedroom. It was very tough to get him out because the flames were at the very top, which is where he was trapped." The cause of the fire is still unknown, though many believe the blaze started in the kitchen.
The surviving children were transferred to the burn unit at Staten Island University Hospital, where the youngest child, Etel is still listed in critical condition. The four year old, Nosson Tzvi, was transferred to Long Island Jewish Children's Hospital on Sunday evening where he remains on life support.
Thousands of bereaved mourners attended the funeral for young Avigdor, may his memory be a blessing, that was held on Sunday at the Bais Yisroel Torah Center, which formerly was under the leadership of the late Torah scholar Rabbi Avigdor Miller, whose grandson Rav Eliayhu Brog now is the spiritual leader of the synagogue. Rabbi Krasny was a close Torah student of Rabbi Miller and is an esteemed Torah scholar who is involved in many acts of chesed, (helping others), and who was also a full time member of the kollel at the Mirrer Yeshiva in Flatbush.
Among the many speakers delivering eulogies at the funeral was Rabbi Mechal Rosenbaum, who along with his wife and 13 children lived on the first floor of the same house that they shared with the Krasnys. He is the son of HaGaon Rabbi Yosef Rosenbaum, the Kalischer Rebbe, who is the Rabbi of Khal Ginzei Yosef on Avenue R in Flatbush. As a result of the extensive fire damage, the Rosenbaums have had to find other temporary lodgings for their large family.
"Today, we have lost a tzaddik", said Rabbi Lazer Ginsberg, fighting back tears. He lauded the Krasnys as people who he said "dedicate their lives for the community, HaShem and mitzvos" and asked that "all of us do difficult soul searching to find a way to do tikkun (repair) of our souls and to become closer to HaShem through acts that foster achdus (unity) in the community."
Throughout Flatbush, Boro Park and other religious communities appeals for the grieving families have been made by prominent rabbonim including Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz, rosh yeshiva of the Mir Yeshiva and coordinated by.Rabbi E. Brudny, 1752 East 18th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11229.