What to Know
- A massive fire in Brooklyn that injured at least 12 people appears to have been arson, law enforcement sources said
- The blaze broke out just after 4 a.m. and quickly escalated to four alarms
- The injuries included nine civilians, one of them a baby, as well as three firefighters
Police arrested a Pittsburgh-area man early Sunday morning on arson and attempted murder charges, alleging he set a massive blaze in Brooklyn on Thursday in an apparent grudge against a local rabbi.
The fire in the Midwood section torched three buildings and injured at least 12 people, babies and firefighters among them.
Matthew Karlefsky, 41, of McKeesport, Penn., was taken into custody in Brooklyn around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. He faces two counts of attempted murder and one count of arson, police said.
Karlefsky, law enforcement sources said, has a tattoo on his right arm that reads in part "Never let go of the hatred - kill rabbi," an apparent reference to a rabbi who lives in one of the torched houses.
The blaze broke out before dawn Thursday and quickly escalated to four alarms. Law enforcement sources believe the fire was started in a vehicle and then spread to homes.
The fire was so intense that neighbors were alerted to close their windows - not just for the smoke, but for debris blowing off the houses as the fire reduced them to rubble.
The injuries included nine civilians, one of them a baby, as well as three firefighter. All of the injuries were considered minor.