Sifrei Torah Ruined as Fire Tears Through Pomona Heights Shul

By Reuvain Borchardt

A fire that tore through a shul in Pomona Heights, N.Y., Wednesday morning did not cause any injuries but rendered the shul’s three Sifrei Torah invalid.

The fire, of unknown cause, ripped through the building at 34 North Ridge Road around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The shul floor collapsed as the building was destroyed, and the aron kodesh safe containing three sifrei Torah fell to the basement floor into a pool of water. When the safe was opened, it was discovered that the sifrei Torah had ireeperable water and fire damage.

A levayah for the sifrei Torah is scheduled to take place on Thursday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at the destroyed shul building.

The congregation, known as “Chassidim 110” (because it was formerly located at 110 Overlook Road) and “Chassidim of the Heights,” is predominantly Lubavitch but has an eclectic mix of congregants including various Chassidim, Sefardim and others. It was the home of Dr. Zev (Vladimir) Zelenko, z”l, until he moved to Florida several years ago. Zelenko passed away from cancer at the age of 48 in 2022, two years after rising to national fame for challenging establishment views on COVID-19 treatments.

Photos and videos courtesy of

Rockland Chaveirim members remove the damaged sifrei Torah from the safe.

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