Smoky 3-alarm fire breaks out at historic Lower East Side synagogue

LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Smoke could be seen from miles away when a synagogue on the Lower East Side erupted into flames on Sunday.

More than 100 firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze at the historic Beth Hamedrash Hagodol on 64 Norfolk Street. The vicious flames were unforgiving.

Fire officials say flames broke out around 7 p.m.

The good news is that the synagogue was vacant for a decade, and no one was injured. Firefighters were faced with challenges, though. They arrived at the scene within four minutes, but they had to quickly pull out from inside.

"The roof collapsed, so we mounted an exterior attack, so the whole operation was an exterior attack," says Assistant Chief Thomas Mckavanagh.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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