UK: Fire that destroyed yeshiva - caused by Hanukkah candles

Students at British yeshiva left campus for Hanukkah party - leaving candles unattended, resulting in massive fire that destroyed the school

David Rosenberg ,

Firefighter (stock image)
Firefighter (stock image)

A fire which destroyed a British yeshiva was apparently sparked by Hanukkah candles which had been left unattended, investigators have found.

The Luzern Yeshiva in Canvey Island in Essex was devastated in a massive blaze Sunday night, which required seven firefighting teams to contain.

The blaze began sometime after 9:00 p.m. Sunday, on the first night of Hanukkah.

No injuries were reported, and the school’s roughly 100 students were not present at the time of the fire.

The main building suffered extensive damage, and numerous Torah scrolls, prayer books, and even the students’ phylacteries were destroyed.

Joel Friedman, a spokesman for the local Jewish community, said that the initial investigation into the fire suggested that the blaze was caused by a Hanukkah candle which fell over.

“The initial investigation indicates that the cause of the fire may have been a misplaced candle, left unattended and fell over. There is no suggestion of foul play,” Friedman said.

Hanukkah candles had been lit in the school, before students left for a Hanukkah party at the home of the school’s dean, Rabbi Moshe Koppelman.