Fire, Possibly Arson, Destroys New York's Oldest Synagogue

17 May, 2017, 12:43 | Author: Evan Mason
  • FDNY: Fire that broke out at Manhattan synagogue under control

Beth Hamedrash HaGadol was the oldest Eastern European Congregation founded in NY.

According to local media, the fire took hold at around 7pm local time (0.00 BST) and firefighters were still tackling the blaze at 8.30pm (1.30am BST).

The 3-alarm fire broke out at 7 p.m. on Sunday and it took almost two hours to bring the flames under control.

New York police suspect that a massive fire on Sunday, which left smoldering ashes of what was a historic Manhattan synagogue, may have been arson, NBC New York reported.

Sakowich, who said the building has sat vacant for 10 years, added that there are no reports of missing people or injuries.

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Surveillance video shows three young people running away from the area near the historic NY synagogue that caught fire Sunday and largely destroyed the building, according to police.

Sakowich said the fire remains under investigation but that information the department has gathered so far indicates the fire started inside the building.

The synagogue was first built in 1850 as a church, then converted a few years later to Jewish use.

It's not yet clear what caused the three-alarm blaze. The building was declared a city landmark in 1967. In the 1880s, the building was purchased by Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, which occupied the space until it closed in 2007.

But Rabbi Mendl Greenbaum of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol told the Lo-Down that he was due to meet with the LPC soon about restoration plans for the building.

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