Cape Town - The Arthurs Road Synagogue in Sea Point suffered severe fire damage after it caught alight late on Tuesday night. City and Fire Rescue spokesperson Theo Layne confirmed the incident and said that no injuries were reported.
"At just before 23:00 on Tuesday night, the City and Fire Rescue Services responded to a synagogue that was alight in Arthurs Road, Sea Point. 22 firefighters with 4 fire engines, 1 aerial appliance and a rescue vehicle responded to the incident. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire at the stage is undetermined," Layne said.
Chairman Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies, Rael Kaimowitz, has shared the board's heartfelt prayers with Rabbi Thurgood of Arthurs Road Synagogue and the entire congregation following the fire.
"The SAJBD (Cape Council) can confirm on behalf of the synagogue that there are no injuries and investigators report no signs of foul play at this stage and await the outcome of a full investigation. The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services need to be thanked for their bravery as they battle this blaze. We know that every effort is being made to save any holy books and religious articles. Once we have more information, we will post further updates on our Facebook Page.”
In a TimesLive video from social media, Rabbi Sam Thurgood shared that while they are devasted about the fire, they hope to rebuild the synagogue better than before.
"We've had prayer services every morning, and every single afternoon for 60 years, so from that aspect we're devasted. On the other hand, there is a real feeling of resolve, and commitment to rebuild, and to bring everything back even better than how it was before," Thurgood said.
"Unfortunately it's not the first synagogue that burnt, we hope that it will be the last.
When asked about the possibility of arson being involved in the fire, Thursgood stated that he couldn't comment on that.
"Fires are funny, some areas are virtually untouched except for smoke and water damage, and then some areas are completely destroyed."
He added that the roof is the main concern as there is worry of more beams falling, which is why no has been allowed into the synagogue.