NEW YORK (KDKA) — Thirteen people were injured when a massive fire in Brooklyn burned through three homes last week and investigators believe it was intentional.
A man from McKeesport is accused of starting the fire that burned down a rabbi’s home.READ MORE: Ben Roethlisberger's Work With Make-A-Wish Foundation, Allegheny County Sheriff's Office Leaves Lasting Impression
More than 150 firefighters battled the blaze that destroyed the home of Rabbi Johnathan Max and heavily damaged two others. Many people in the neighborhood were awakened by loud screams for help.
“I was hearing children screaming, ‘help, help, help’ and then the voice of a man, and then I went out right away and I saw three houses on fire,” said Rabbi Max.
At least 14 people, including a 6-month-old baby and three firefighters, were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.
Surveillance video shows a man running away moments after the fire started.
Police have arrested 41-year-old Matthew Karelefsky, of McKeesport, and charged him with two counts of attempted murder and one count of arson.READ MORE: 4 Teenagers Charged In Fatal Shooting Of Rideshare Driver
“A terrible, terrible thing anyone can do,” said one witness. “I don’t know how anyone could have the stomach to live with themselves after creating such tremendous destruction and putting so many people, especially young children, men, women in so much danger.”
Sources say Karelefsky had a long-running grudge against the rabbi. He claimed on a website that he lived in a foster home and converted to Christianity because he was sexually abused by the rabbi.
Investigators are looking into the grudge as a possible motive and there are also reports that he had a tattoo referring to the rabbi’s death.
“The only thing I was doing was praying that nobody would be injured,” said Rabbi Max.MORE NEWS: Lawyers For Dentist Accused Of Killing Wife On African Safari Want Case Pushed Back
Not much is known about his life in Pittsburgh, but it was confirmed he lived in an apartment in East Liberty. He was also known at the Yeshiva School in Squirrel Hill but has not been seen there in a few years.