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Firefighters put out massive blaze at historic New York synagogue

Inspectors open probe into fire at landmark shul in Lower East Side, once home of oldest Russian Jewish Orthodox congregation in US

A fire broke out at the Beth Hamedrash Hagodol synagogue in Manhattan's Lower East Side, May 14, 2017. (Screenshot)
A fire broke out at the Beth Hamedrash Hagodol synagogue in Manhattan's Lower East Side, May 14, 2017. (Screenshot)

New York City firefighters put out a massive blaze at an historic, vacant synagogue in New York City’s Lower East Side on Sunday night, as inspectors opened an investigation into the cause of the fire.

The blaze broke out at the Beth Hamedrash Hagodol synagogue at around 7 p.m. local time, according to local reports. Smoke bellowing from the 167-year-old building could be seen from blocks away and appeared to blanket part of the skyline.

The synagogue was vacant and it was not immediately clear what caused the fire.

No injuries were reported in the incident but the building sustained significant damage.

https://twitter.com/NYCityAlerts/status/863901831587672068

https://twitter.com/MichelJFaulkner/status/863913288802983936

Founded in 1852, it is considered the oldest Russian Jewish Orthodox congregation in the United States. It was operational for over 120 years before shutting its doors in 2007 amid dwindling membership and the need for repairs, estimated at $3-4 million, after a fire in 2001 destroyed the building’s roof and ceiling.

The building was given landmark status in 1967 and designated an endangered historic site in 2003.

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