EXCLUSIVE VIDEO & PHOTOS: Fire At Satmar Bais Medrash In Williamsburg – FDNY Rescues All Sifrei Torah; Hundreds Of Tefillin Destroyed



A fire broke out in the Satmar Bais Medrash on South 8th Street near Bedford Avenue early Sunday morning, and the FDNY was able to remove all the Sifrei Torah from the building. Tragically, hundreds of pairs of Tefillin were destroyed.

The Shul – belonging to the Kehilla of the Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg, Rav Zalman Leib Teitelbaum Shlita – is located at 109 South 8th Street, and is attached to a building full of residential apartments. The thick smell of smoke woke people up a little before 5:00AM, who began calling the FDNY and Hatzolah.

The FDNY arrived in just minutes, and found a fire in the basement and first floor of the building. They quickly called for a second alarm to respond. Williamsburg Hatzolah dispatched at least three ambulances, as well as Paramedics and EMT’s. The Williamsburg Shomrim were on the scene as well.

Bichasdei Hashem, there were no injuries reported. Hatzolah treated a few people with oxygen for smoke inhalation, but besides that, Hatzolah was Boruch Hashem not needed.

The hundreds of people who had gathered on the street to watch the emergency personnel all breathed a sigh of relief when the firefighters began carrying out the Sifrei Torah from the Shul.

As already stated, hundreds of pairs of Tefillin were destroyed, as well as alot of Seforim.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but sources tell YWN that arson is not being suspected.

YWN photographer Hillel Engel was on the scene and has provided the readers of YWN exclusive video and photo of the incident.

YWN PHOTO LINK: Click HERE for photos.


To watch video on a mobile device click HERE.


(Yehuda Drudgestein – YWN)


  1. At a typical price of $2,000 a pair of mehudar t’fillin, the loss of hundreds of pairs of t’fillin represents a catastrophic loss for the Williamsburgh tzibbur and a major financial difficulty for the parents of these bochrim.

    In addition, these bochrim are going to have to figure out a way to borrow tfillin over the next few weeks and even months.

    These problems aside, since Satmar Chassidim do not wear tfillin on Chol HaMoed, one must assume that they were left in the shul (probably in cubby holes) for at least 10 days.

    Rabbosai; Talis and Tfillin ($2,000!!) should be taken back home EVERY DAY for 1) financial as well as 2) esoteric reasons (shmira). (I understand and do not include those people who go straight to work and do not return home until late at night).