$150,000 synagogue fire spares the sanctuary Cause is traced to food on stove

October 22, 1992|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

An early-morning fire gutted the old classroom wing of the Moses Montefiore Emunath Israel Woodmoor Hebrew Congregation yesterday, causing property damage estimated at $150,000 but stopping short of the sanctuary.

Yesterday afternoon, cleaning crews and congregation members scrubbed wet soot and other smoke residue from the social hall and sanctuary of the synagogue in the 3600 block of Coronado Road. Congregation President Samuel Stone said morning services took place as usual at 7:45 a.m.

Fire officials said the one-alarm blaze broke out just after 1 a.m. in a kitchen, started by a pot of food left on a stove.

It was brought under control in an hour, said Lt. Richard K. Brooks, spokesman for the Baltimore County Fire Department.

Mr. Stone said the fire damage "will not disrupt services."

"The rabbi's son has his bar mitzvah here Saturday," Mr. Stone said. "We will be ready."

His wife, Sylvia Stone, said the Torah scrolls were not harmed.

"We were very fortunate," she said. "We got them all out in time with no damage."

A kitchen just across the lobby from the sanctuary was blackened, its roof falling. Pools of water and waterlogged debris filled a fire-blackened hallway and rooms that Mr. Stone said had previously been used for the school.

As the congregation aged, the school was closed and the space was rented to Catering by Weiss and Aviva, Mrs. Stone said.

The Orthodox congregation has 250 families.

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