Religious leaders plan to rebuild an 85-year-old synagogue in Milford after it was gutted early Sunday morning.
The fire started just after 9 a.m. at the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont on Edgefield Avenue. The cause of the fire is believed to be electrical in nature.
Fire officials told Eyewitness News that fire crews were able to save two Torahs and other important items from the building. The Torahs, which are considered sacred, cost around $40,000 and take about a year to write.
"It was still a very dangerous situation and they carried them out and put them on the fire trucks," said President of Congregation Joel Levitz. "The fire department was great. They're just great heroes in my book."
However, shawls, prayer books and chairs were destroyed. A burial ceremony is being planned for the other items that were lost.
"It's sad to see it looking so burned out and beat up," Levitz said.
Insurance is expected to help cover the cost of rebuilding the facility and donations have been received. On Monday, several people visited the synagogue to pay their respects.
The social hall next to the synagogue suffered some smoke damage and once it is cleaned up, will host services on Saturday. Until that is complete, the mayor has offered synagogue officials to use a community building across the street.
"This is more than money. This is lives and history," Levitz said. "And it's very emotional for me."
Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont, which was founded in 1926, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is known as Connecticut's only summer community synagogue. A full-time rabbi was only recently hired six years ago.
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