TRAGEDY: Man Killed In Early-Morning Fire In Mea Shearim

Photo: ZAKA

A fire broke out early Monday morning on the ground floor of a two-story residential dwelling on Rechov Avodas Yisrael in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Firefighters and rescue services arrived at the scene about 6 a.m. and forced their way into the smoke-filled first-floor apartment by breaking the lock.

The firefighters found an unconscious man inside the apartment and quickly extricated him from the burning building. MDA services tried to administer life-saving treatment but it was too late and were forced to pronounce his death minutes later.

“When we arrived at the site, we saw fire and thick smoke emerging from the ground floor of the building,” said MDA paramedic Chugla Erez. “Firefighters entered the apartment where they found an unconscious man…he had no signs of life and we were forced to pronounce his death at the site.”


Fortunately, after battling the fire for about an hour the firefighters successfully extinguished it.

The niftar was later identified as R’ Shimon Yaakov Gedalia Tefalinski, 49, who was a well-known figure in the neighborhood.

Shim’ale, as he was known, was born to the tzadik nistar, Hagaon Rav Chaim Todros Tefalinski, z’tl, and was the grandson of Hagaon Rav Shmuel Tefalinkski, z’tl, author of the Kuntrus Hatzavah.

In the past, Shim’ale served as the driver for the posek Hagaon Rav Meir Bransdorfer, z’tl. He also spent years upkeeping the cleanliness of the shul on Rechov Avodas Yisrael, makng great efforts to ensure that the shul was fit to serve as a makom Hashem.

שמעון תפילינסקי ז”ל

Unfortunately for the past 20 years, he withdrew himself from society and barricaded himself in his home. R’ Shim’ale left no children behind and the public is asked to learn for the zechus of ר’ שמעון יעקב גדליה בן רבי חיים טודרס.

According to the commander of the local Fire and Rescue unit, Motti Melamed, the fire was in an old small apartment that has an even smaller makeshift apartment inside it. Police criminal investigators arrived at the scene and opened an investigation.

Following the incident, the Jerusalem District Fire and Rescue Services reiterated that it is forbidden to alter residential buildings without a permit and in accordance with building standards.

“Such alterations in buildings can turn the building during a fire into a death trap that prevents a quick escape and protection of the residents. Furthermore, the installation of smoke detectors in homes has been proven to be life-saving and even, in very many incidents, prevents severe damage to property and the prevention of the fire in the first place.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)