FDNY: Fire that broke out at Manhattan synagogue under control

FDNY: Fire that broke out at Manhattan synagogue under control

Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives were at the scene to join the investigation on Monday, because, "Somehow this fire started in a building that isn't being used", explained FDNY Manhattan Borough Commander Roger Sakowich.

The fire at New York's historic Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue.

The fire broke out around 7 p.m., and took about two hours to get under control, according to the New York Times.

The New York Fire Department is now investigating a fire that left Manhattan's historic Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol in ruins over the weekend. An eyewitness corroborated the report, telling fire officials he saw three people fleeing the synagogue as the fire began. Witnesses claimed that there was another fire at the location last week, although no official statements from the City of NY have confirmed this. No civilians were rescued from the building, and no civilian injuries were reported. The building was built in 1850, originally as a Baptist church, but then sold to a Jewish congregation 35 years later.

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The NYPD now believes the fleeing teens likely caused the blaze, said Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. In 1967, the building was declared a city landmark, and in 2003 it was designated an endangered historic site. The 19th century synagogue once served as the oldest worship space for orthodox Russian Jews in the country, but has been vacant since 2007.

In recent years, the building was in poor condition.

The congregation closed the synagogue in 2007 after it determined that it did not have the between $3 million and $4 million needed to fix the building.

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