Massive fire at Manhattan synagogue under investigation (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
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.
MANHATTAN: 3-ALARM FIRE, 60 NORFOLK ST, FIRE IN SYNAGOGUE, pic.twitter.com/0LpmzWzclX— NYRRT (@NYRRT) May 14, 2017
Thick smoke blanketed the sky over lower Manhattan, prompting authorities to issue an air quality emergency warning, NBC New York reported.
You can see the flames here and a hovering helicopter pic.twitter.com/u8JSnL8IK2— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) May 15, 2017
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.
PHOTO: This is an incredible shot of the fire currently burning at a synagogue in Lower Manhattan. pic.twitter.com/UXshDmlcyN— TravelCenter HQ (@TravelCenterHQ) May 15, 2017
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.
Big fire around Essex and Grand Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan pic.twitter.com/W1a2HPoIhU— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) May 14, 2017
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.
UPDATE: The fire is currently burning at the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue in Manhattan pic.twitter.com/x4sYObAdCE— NewsCenter HQ (@NewsCenterHQ101) May 14, 2017
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.