Brutal Blaze Destroys Educational Institute Oholei Torah Preschool in Brooklyn

NY Daily News - April 11, 2011

by Sam Levin and Joe Kemp

A two-alarm blaze tore through a Brooklyn Jewish preschool on Sunday, officials said.

The fire ignited inside Educational Institute Oholei Torah on E. 53rd St. near Snyder Ave. in East Flatbush about 11 a.m., officials said.

The roaring flames were extinguished about 45 minutes later, after they had destroyed the school, which serves about 100 children between the ages of 3 and 5, officials said.

"There was a lot of fire upon arrival," FDNY Chief Richard Portello said. "There were a lot of obstacles."

Rabbi Nosson Blumes, director of development for the school, said classes will be relocated until they can rebuild the former synagogue.

"This is a tragedy that this happened," he said. "It looks like the fire went through everything."

"I am very surprised, very shocked," said the school's manager, Mordechai Bronsteyn. "I came and saw it was terrible."

Authorities said the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

"It's sad - really, really sad," said Sharon Scott, 41, who lives nearby. "When I saw all those fire trucks, I knew something really bad had happened."