Three people emailed me this story within a span of about two hours.
The AP reports,
It was an old school bus that had been converted into a supersized oven for Passover matzos — complete with a smokestack, exhaust fans and working fire. A building inspector said that while the bakery bus wasn’t nearly up to code, it was “very creative.”
The derelict red-and-white bus, connected by a plywood passageway to a single-family house, was out of sight of casual passers-by in a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood and had apparently long escaped the notice of authorities. Its owner, Rabbi Aaron Winternitz, said Monday he had been making the unleavened bread there for three Passovers and was eager to do the same this year, with Passover coming up in a week.
He said that the oven-in-a-bus was his invention, and that he purposely bought an old school bus because “school buses are made strong and safe.” He said the bus he purchased had also been used as a home and as a race-car carrier….
Police Sgt. Lou Scorziello said police traced the smoke to the bus at about 3 a.m. Friday. The oven, he said, “was up and running.”
Given the illegal gas line, “There certainly was the potential for an explosion.”
He said the back door of the bus, formerly the emergency exit, was the oven door.
“All the seats had been removed and the whole inside was an oven,” he said.
Winternitz, who said he lived with his wife and three children in the light pink two-story house that fronted the bus, brushed aside any safety concerns.
“Everything was always done properly,” he said. The rabbi said he made about 100 pounds of crispy matzo, in 10-inch square crackers, each Passover for his 50-member Congregation Mivtzar Hatorah.
I think the thing that surprises me the most about this is that it isn’t Chabad. But if it were Chabad, the bus would actually have to be drivable, which this, it seems, is not.
Full story here.