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Tuesday, May 31, 2016
L.B. firefighters battle blaze at Temple Beth El
Courtesy Bill Kelly
Lt. Stan Rozyckt of LBFD Engine 44 at the scene of the fire.

Long Beach firefighters responded to a blaze at Temple Beth El on Feb. 26, which forced the evacuation of members, workers and tenants in the building.

About 75 firefighters responded at 5:14 p.m., after smoke and flames were reported at the temple, at 570 W. Walnut St., with assistance from the Point Lookout-Lido, Island Park, Oceanside and Lawrence-Cedarhurst fire departments.

When first due units arrived at the scene, the blaze quickly escalated to a second alarm due to a heavy fire load, fire officials said. The main body of fire was quickly extinguished, and the Fire Department was on the scene for several hours extinguishing smaller pockets of flames.

“There was a decent amount of fire, a large volume upon arrival,” Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins said. “The fire went out relatively quickly — we did an aggressive attack on it, so the majority of the building was saved from major fire damage.”

Kemins said that two firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries, and no other injuries were reported. The fire was contained to the third floor, he said, which includes a caretaker’s apartment and a workshop. The Nassau County Fire Marshal is investigating the blaze, though Kemins said that the fire is not believed to be suspicious.

Kemins said that the building sustained some smoke and water damage, though firefighters from Point Lookout-Lido successfully removed six Torahs from the temple.

“They have electricians looking at [the building] now, and when they’re able to put power back into the building they should be able to get back in there,” Kemins said.

Nearby residents at the scene said that staff members were in the first floor offices of the building at the time of the blaze.


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