Assign modules on offcanvas module position to make them visible in the sidebar.

Testimonials

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.
Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Monday, August 21, 2017

A three-alarm fire broke out on Sunday night at a 19th Century synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. About 33 units, nearly 140 firefighters, responded to the fire.

The fire broke out around 7:00 p.m. at the historic Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol at 60 Norfolk St., according to NBC New York.

Videos uploaded to social media showed heavy flames raging from the top of the building, which appeared to be severely damaged.

Firefighters were forced to battle the fire from the outside because of the intensity of the flames. The roof of the synagogue collapsed because of the flames.

There were no reports of injuries, nor was it immediately clear what sparked the fire. The cause of the fire is being investigated, and a search of the grounds around the synagogue is being conducted, according to NBC New York.

The abandoned building, which was built in 1850, once housed the city’s oldest Jewish Orthodox congregation, reported The New York Times.

The building was originally built as a Baptist church and purchased in 1885 by Beth Hamedrash Hagadol.  The building was closed in 2007 after another fire destroyed the roof and caused structural damage, according to advocates for the synagogue.

AMNY reported that the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy fundraised to save the synagogue at the time, but the congregation decided instead that the building should be demolished. It submitted a demolition and hardship application to the Landmark Preservation Commission in 2013, advocates who hoped to save the building from being demolished said.

On Monday morning, CBS News reported that investigators are trying to determine what caused a fire at the historic synagogue.

The light of day brought new images of the damage and debris from Sunday’s fire. CBS reported that along with ATF agents, fire inspectors on ladders were peering into the structure trying to figure out what caused the synagogue to burn, sending smoke billowing into the air that could be seen for miles across the skyline.

FDNY inspectors said they believe the fire started from inside the building. They say they’ve been able to search the basement, which was not burned, but that’s as far as they’ve been able to get, according to the CBS report.

“No way we can search the first floor, with what collapsed on top of it,” said Manhattan Borough Commander Roger Sakowich.

City Councilwoman Margaret Chin says this was the first synagogue in the city to serve Eastern European Jews.

The rabbi of the synagogue told CBS he was in the middle of plans to renovate and restore the congregation, but now he says that is in doubt.

By: Fern Sidman