May 15, 2017
A fire at a disused synagogue in Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Sunday night is under investigation, according to local media. More than 100 firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze, which sent out a dangerously-thick blanket of smoke across the city.
The fire engulfed the Congregation Beth Hamedrash synagogue in the Lower East Side at around 7pm local time on Sunday. It quickly grew to a three-alarm fire inside the abandoned building, according to the FDNY.
Thick smoke blanketed the sky over lower Manhattan, prompting authorities to issue an air quality emergency warning, NBC New York reported.
Several firefighters suffered minor injuries from the fire, which led to the collapse of the building’s roof. The inside of the synagogue was also completely gutted in the blaze.
The fire was brought under control by 8:50pm, according to the FDNY.
The cause of the blaze is now under investigation, with authorities working to determine what started it, CBS New York reported. Fire marshals are expected to return to the scene on Monday.
The fire chief said the fire began inside the building.
The 1850 Gothic synagogue building served as the house of worship for the Beth Hamedrash Hagodol, an Orthodox Jewish congregation before the synagogue shut in 2007.
The building was the first synagogue to serve Eastern European Jews in the city, according to councilwoman Margaret Chin, as cited by CBS New York.