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March 2011
 
Home > Operation Earthquake

Precious scrolls saved

"There’s a time and place for rules and this wasn’t the time or place,” says Detective Chris Bell.
Photo: Kathryn Fitzpatrick, Ten-One

Detective Chris Bell was driving through the CBD’s cordoned area on late shift, a week after the earthquake when he and his partner, Senior Sergeant Matt Emery, came across two men and asked what they were up to.

One man was Rabbi Shmuel Friedman of Chabad House, a Jewish community centre. He wanted to extricate two precious Torah scrolls from the badly damaged building.

“We went to look and there was no sticker on the building,” says Chris. “I put on my safety gear and went in. From the Rabbi’s description I thought I was looking for books in a box but there was nothing like that.

“There was a wardrobe lying face down. I stood it up and found one scroll inside it and another lying on the floor. They are quite big things. I picked them up and got out of there.

“The men were quite emotional to have them back. They shook our hands about ten trillion times and we escorted them out of the cordon.

 

“They weren’t supposed to be there but there’s a time and place for rules and this wasn’t the time or place.” The building has since been red stickered.

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