A Hasidic yeshiva student appears to have committed suicide by setting himself on fire inside a parked car early Monday in Brooklyn, authorities and police sources said.
When firefighters quashed the flames from the 2018 Honda Accord parked on the sidewalk near 39th Street and 12th Avenue in Borough Park around 2:45 a.m., they found Shmuel Fischman’s body in the driver’s seat, sources said.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Fischman, 23, was remembered by members of the close-knit community as a “happy-go-lucky” yeshiva student with plenty of reason to live.
“I’m shattered,” said one friend, who declined to give his name. “I spoke to him Friday. He was in a happy place … Financially he was good.”
Added another pal: “Great kid, beautiful guy. He was actually doing pretty well now. He was working, he was dating.”
But Fischman sent a troubling texts to a friend before his death, expressing hope that his demise “will help people open their eyes and see the world,” sources told The Post.
A short time later, he was caught on surveillance video appearing to douse the car, then himself with a liquid, before lighting what appears to be a cigarette and touching off the blaze, sources said.
It was at odds with Fischman’s sunny disposition, friends said.
“He was happy-go-lucky. Always there, cheerful,” said one friend who gave his name as Leiby, and said that he’d seen Fischman just hours before on Sunday night. “I didn’t realize that would be the last time I would speak to him.”
Members of Misaskim — a non-profit group that meticulously recovers every minute piece of a deceased person’s remains so that they can be buried in accordance with Jewish law — could be seen scouring the burned-out car.
Later, about 200 mourners gathered under heavy rainfall outside the Congregation Nachlas Boruch Rodnick on 45th Street to remember Fischman.
“He was always there to help,” said Rabbi Baruch Shimshon Halberstam, recalling in a tearful eulogy Fischman’s good deeds — including helping provide Jewish patients at NYU Langone hospital with kosher meals, and raising $34,000 for the wedding of a down-on-their-luck couple.
“Always with a smile, always to make people happy.”