Six families in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn have been left homeless, after a fire destroyed three buildings in Flatbush overnight.
The fire broke out at around 4:00 a.m. local time early Thursday morning on East 17th Street in Midwood.
Three buildings, each containing several housing units, went up in flames during the fire.
Residents managed to evacuate, however, thank to smoke detectors which alerted them to the blaze.
Thirteen people were reported injured in the fire, including nine residents and four firefighters who were lightly injured from smoke inhalation. The injured were treated at the scene before being evacuated to Maimonides Medical Center and New York Community Hospital for further treatment.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that one of the residents injured in the fire was listed in critical condition. One of the injured residents is a six-week-old baby boy.
Firefighters dispatched to the scene of the blaze managed to contain the fire after roughly three hours.
While it remains unclear what sparked the fire, authorities said Thursday that the fire was “suspicious”, Bklyner reported.
Police say they are investigating the possibility that a Jewish man who converted to Christianity after accusing a local rabbi of abuse may have intentionally sparked the blaze.
The rabbi, who teaches at the Chaim Berlin Yeshiva, was a resident of one of the housing units hit by the fire.
Authorities are now looking into the possibility that Pittsburgh resident Menachem Karelefsky may have set the fire, targeting the rabbi in question.
Karelefsky reportedly has the words “Never let go of the hatred”, and calling to “kill” the rabbi in question.