Airmont, NY – A well known figure in the Jewish entertainment industry is counting his blessings after surviving a house fire that is believed to have been ignited by aftermarket cell phone accessories.
The fire broke out in the Airmont home of Lipa Schmeltzer at 5:05 AM on the morning of May 30th. Schmeltzer was sleeping with his iPhone charging in an outlet next to his bed, with a non-Apple brand cable and charger pushed up against the mattress.
Schmeltzer said that he woke up to find flames consuming his bed. Screaming to alert his family members to the danger, Schmeltzer attempted to put out the fire, filling a negel vasser bowl with water and pouring it on the flames, before carrying his blanket and pillow to the back of the house and throwing them out a window, into the backyard.
Schmeltzer and his family evacuated the house, calling 911 who responded to the scene within minutes.
Captain Patrick McKiernan of the Tallman Fire Department noted that chargers placed directly next to flammable surfaces can be potentially deadly.
“They need proper ventilation or all the heat builds up,” McKiernan told VIN News. “I was guilty of doing the same thing until recently. This is something that so many people do.”
Fire crews opened up the wall next to Schmeltzer’s bed to make sure that the flames had been completely extinguished. McKiernan said that Schmeltzer’s mattress and box spring were completely destroyed by the flames.
“He is extremely, extremely lucky to be here,” said McKiernan.
Schmeltzer sustained minor bruises in his attempts to extinguish the fire and acknowledged that it would have been safer to leave the house with his family instead of trying to put out the flames on his own.
He said that paramedics told him that he had much to be grateful for and that he bentshed Gomel after the incident.
“They said that no one escapes something like this without injury,” noted Schmeltzer, who said he did have working smoke detectors in his house.
Schmeltzer’s home synagogue, located on the far side of the house, sustained no damage in the blaze, which was brought under control fairly quickly.
Kanex, the manufacturer of the charger, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident.