Fire (illustrative)
Fire (illustrative)Istock

Only three months after its opening, a fire engulfed the Chabad House in San Jose, California on Wednesday.

By the time the fire had been put out, every room in the building was charred, even the attic was destroyed. But miraculously, the synagogue’s Torah scroll’s survived with no permanent damage, JWeekly reported.

The fire was responded to by the San Jose Fire Department shortly before 7 a.m. when they received a call of smoke coming from the roof of the two-story Chabad House-Almaden Valley synagogue. They were able to put out the fire by 9:44 a.m. But not until every room was destroyed.

The cause of the blaze is still being investigated.

“On Wednesday a structure fire occurred at the Chabad House, a synagogue located in the 1000 block of Branham Ln,” San Jose Police Media Relations tweeted. “Our investigation determined that this was not a hate incident or racially motivated.”

Rabbi Mendel Weinfeld, the Cabad House’s leader, told JWeekly: “The community is all in shock.”

Rabbi Weinfeld and his wife Mussie had started the synagogue in 2020 in their house and rented rooms while they fundraised for a permanent building.

Click here to help

The new center opened in August 2021. It contained a prayer room, a social event space and a Hebrew school. While renovations were nearly finished, fire alarms had not yet been installed.

The fire was reportedly so strong that white marble floor in the social area and prayer room was destroyed, with a large hole in the floor right in front of the arc.

Many prayer books were destroyed in the fire and their burned pages will be buried.

The synagogue’s Torah scrolls were saved thanks to the quick thinking of one of their members.

The rabbi said that Jacob Cohen hurried to the scene of the fire, explaining to the firefighters that the Torah scrolls needed to be saved.

“The Torahs have a terrible smell on them, but they’ll recover,” Rabbi Weinfeld said.