Tuesday, July 11, 2017
The hand of God reached down Monday to a Brooklyn yeshiva, where a worker miraculously escaped being crushed to death by a massive safe meant to hold sacred Torahs, witnesses said.
The man had just finished installing the heavy vault at the Rabbinical College Yeshiva of Machzikai Hadas in Borough Park — where a rash of thefts had recently hit the area — when it suddenly tipped over.
The unidentified worker narrowly avoided being flattened like a matzo when he scooted into a gap left by the 2,500-pound safe's hatch and wound up sitting unharmed inside, police sources and witnesses said.
"He came out with no scratches at all. That's a massive miracle," said one awe-struck witness at the religious school on 39th Street near 14th Avenue.
"Anyone who this happens to should be really, really hurt . . . but he walked away smiling."
The terrifying moment came just after the man finished setting up and cleaning the 8-foot-long, 3-foot-deep Torah safe at around 10:30 a.m, sources said.
As the safe toppled, the quick-thinking man managed to somehow position himself in its doorway, allowing him to keep from being crushed, but leaving him trapped inside.
For 45 minutes, he curled up next to a large red Torah.
Even seasoned cops were stunned by the worker's luck.
"Everyone was surprised at how it turned out, that this large safe fell on top of this person — and he literally came out of it safe and sound," one police source said.
It was a hot time inside the safe, especially because of the man's traditional clothing, witnesses said.
"I don't know if you've ever worn Hasidic garb before, but it's hot," a witness said.
Firefighters used special tools to prop up the safe, allowing the man to slide out from under it as onlookers snapped photos and cheered.
"We got him out!" a firefighter is heard shouting on camera as the worker emerged and flashed a relieved grin.
The lucky-to-be-alive man is then seen in the video chatting in Yiddish, smiling and shaking the hand of friend.
The worker was transported by Hatzolah volunteer ambulance to a hospital to be checked out.
The school was installing the safe to protect the scrolls from thieves, a source there said.
"During the High Holy Days [Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur] . . . someone stole four of them," the source from the school said, adding that several others were recently stolen from synagogues in Flatbush.
He added, "They keep the Torahs in there, anything that's parchment. It's such a big thing to get stolen."
The steel safe that toppled over likely weighs between 2,500 and 3,500 pounds, according to an expert from the Shtender Store in Milwaukee, Wis., which sells Torah safes, also called aron kodeshes.
"It's heavy enough to crush someone. It could have done some real damage," he said.
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