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Fire breaks out at Louisville synagogue during last day of Passover

St. Matthews Fire Department spokesperson Rick Tonini said firefighters were dispatched to Chabad of Kentucky around 4 a.m. Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The St. Matthews Fire Department is investigating two fires that broke out at a synagogue Saturday morning on the last day of Passover.

St. Matthews Fire Department spokesperson Rick Tonini said firefighters were dispatched to Chabad of Kentucky around 4 a.m. Saturday for the first fire. When Tonini got there, he said the flames were through the roof. Tonini said someone was cooking and the first fire started in the kitchen.

Firefighters fought the fire for three hours. Both the Fern Creek Fire Department and Buechel Fire Department also responded to the call he said.

Later that Saturday around noon, at least two people were in the synagogue sleeping. Tonini said one woke up and smelled smoke then woke up the other person. This was the start of the second fire. Emergency Medical Services treated one man for troubled breathing.

According to Tonini, the commander said while the first fire started in the kitchen, they are unaware of how the second fire started. The Arson Unit is still investigating. Tonini said the sanctuary was burned in the second fire. 

Rabbi Avrohom Litvin, the regional director of Chabad Kentucky, said they were able to rescue the torah scrolls in between the fires.

"I see the hand of God here," said Litvin.

Passover was from April 15 to April 23.

Donations for their fire recovery can be made here.

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