Borough Park, NY – Emergency crews have raced to the scene of a fire in the heart of Borough Park, with flames ripping through a dry cleaner located next door to the iconic Congregation Shomrei Shabbos.
According to an FDNY alert on Twitter, the fire broke out on the first floor of Lowell Cleaners, located at 5304 13th Avenue.
The FDNY has called for all hands in Brooklyn to respond to the fire which has spread to the second floor of the building above the dry cleaners and is being described by onlookers as “massive.”
The area, which is covered in heavy smoke, has been cordoned off by first responders including FDNY, NYPD and Hatzolah.
An FDNY Mobile Respiratory Treatment Unit is also on scene and officials at the 66th Precinct have asked the public to stay away from the area.
Photographer Heshy Rubinstein of Borough Park said that so far the flames have not made their way into Shomrei Shabbos but that the beis medrash is so full of smoke that rescuers have not been able to go in and rescue the Sifrei Torah that are inside.
Rubinstein said that smoke conditions are also very bad at the adjacent Kineret florist and that people who may have been living on the second floor have been evacuated, some in their bare feet.
Rabbi Yitzchak Eizik Tirnauer, rov of the synagogue which has been a fixture in Borough Park for more than 80 years, told VIN News that the shul was spared from the flames and that minyanim are continuing as usual in the succah located outside the building.
The synagogue has been holding round the clock minyanim for more than a quarter of a century.