A four-alarm fire decimated a rabbi’s Brooklyn home and spread to two others early Thursday, leaving 13 people injured — and investigators suspect the blaze was set intentionally, authorities and sources said.
The three-story home on East 17th Street in Midwood erupted into flames just after 4 a.m. and the fire quickly jumped to the neighboring residences, sending panicked residents fleeing into the street, officials said.
Nearly 200 first-responders raced to the scene, with firefighters battling the blaze as EMTs rushed more than a dozen injured people to Maimonides Medical Center.
“We tried to escape from the front entrance, but there was also fire over there, so thank God we have that side entrance where we were able to escape from,” said Nathanial Bouskila, 27, who fled one of the neighboring homes with his wife and children. “We came outside, [and] we saw the house next to us engulfed in flames.”
All told, 13 people were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, including a 6-week-old boy with smoke inhalation.
Once firefighters got the blaze under control after more than three hours, investigators found evidence of arson, including surveillance video from a nearby home that appears to show a person pouring a liquid around a car parked by the house that took the brunt of the flames, sources said.
The flames quickly shot up and spread to the home as the person is seen running off, the video shows.
Authorities quickly identified a suspect — who has held a fierce grudge against a resident of the home — and were trying to track him down late Thursday, police sources said.
When reached by The Post, the suspected firebug, whose name is being withheld because he has not been charged with a crime, admitted having a problem with the resident.
“I do hate him. Doesn’t mean I torched his house,” the suspect wrote in a text-message exchange with a reporter. “Of course the police will think it is me.”
Repeatedly asked point-blank if he sparked the inferno, the suspect tried to change the subject, never confirming or denying a role.
The distraught homeowner declined to comment as he returned to survey the damage.
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