Fire that destroyed synagogue appears to be accidental

The burned shell of the Poile Zedek Synagogue from a fire Friday, is seen Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in New Brunswick, N.J. New Brunswick Fire Department officials remained on the scene of the blaze on Saturday. The quick-moving fire destroyed the historic synagogue in New Jersey, and officials say one sacred scroll was saved from the blaze. No one was injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say a fire that destroyed a historic New Jersey synagogue appears to be accidental.

The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office said Saturday a preliminary investigation shows the blaze was an accident and started on the first floor of the Poile Zedek Synagogue in New Brunswick.

Authorities are investigating the cause. They say one sacred scroll was saved and no one was injured.

The fire started Friday afternoon and was under control within hours.

Fire Director Robert Rawls tells WABC-TV the building became engulfed shortly after firefighters arrived. Firefighters say they saved one Torah and the only person in the building escaped unharmed.

The congregation’s website says the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. About 100 families belong to the Orthodox Ashkenazic synagogue.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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