A 41-year-old Pennsylvania Jewish native who later converted to Christianity has been arrested by authorities in connection to the fire that destroyed three homes in Flatbush, Brooklyn, last week.
No less than a dozen people – including a 6-week-old baby – as well as several firefighters were injured in the fire, though not seriously.
The suspect is Matthew (Menachem) Karelefsky, who for years has been threatening to kill or injure one of the occupants of the homes.
Karelefsky, who lived in foster care and an Ohel home, has broken the law many times in the past and, sources told Matzav.com, was arrested a year ago for an email threat against the person whose house he eventually burned down in an act of arson this past week.
The unhinged arsonist allegedly sports a tattoo on his right arm expressing his desire to kill his target in last week’s fire.
The four-alarm fire started at about 3:45 a.m. at the East 17th Street home and then spread to the neighboring houses, requiring three hours to get the conflagration under control.
Karelefsky grew up non-religious and later became frum after joining a Brooklyn yeshiva, staying religious for about twenty years, before leaving his heritage behind. Karelefsky, in writings obtained by Matzav.com, claimed to be “healing in church almost every Sunday.”
Karelefsky will be charged with attempted murder.