Teen Charged In Fire That Destroyed Historic Lower East Side Shul


A 14-year-old boy was taken into custody Tuesday night in connection with a fire at the Lower East Side Shul on Sunday night.

The boy was charged with third-degree arson as a juvenile. He will appear in family court.

Detectives have names of his two friends, also spotted on surveillance video, fleeing the scene. Police said they are seeking to question them also.

More than 100 firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze Sunday evening at the abandoned Beth Hamedrash Hagodol on 64 Norfolk St. Flames broke out around 7 p.m. and were brought under control about three hours later.

Surveillance video recovered from a nearby camera showed three young people running from the general area.

Although the fire occurred in what was once a house of worship, it was not investigated as a bias crime. Investigators are aware of previous reports of youths going in and out of the 167-year-old house of worship, which has been vacant for the past decade.

The Gothic structure was originally built in 1850 as a Baptist church. It later served as synagogue for the Beth Hamedrash Hagodol Orthodox Jewish congregation for over 120 years. The synagogue was closed in 2007.

This Shul was founded in 1852 and was said to be the oldest Russian Jewish orthodox one in the United States until it was abandoned ten years ago.

WPIX reported that the structure was landmarked, but there had been a recent move to demolish the structure to turn it into condominiums.

The good news is that the synagogue was vacant for a decade, and no one was injured.

(AP / YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. For the rest of their lives, these 3 rascals have to be forced to work very hard, and have their entire wages garnished until all expenses are met, to rebuild this Shul to its pristine former glory, as well as all expenses incurred by fire department to extinguish this malicious fire.