Fire Scorches OC Temple’s Kitchen, Torah Saved

by City News Service
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SANTA ANA (CNS) – Fire raged for nearly an hour inside a building at one of Orange County’s largest Jewish temples Saturday.

Flames were reported about 6:05 a.m. inside a structure at Temple Beth Sholom in the 2600 block of North Tustin Avenue in Santa Ana. Firefighters called a second alarm before they declared the blaze under control at 7:00 a.m., a dispatcher said.

Temple Beth Sholom President Lynn Matassarin reported on the Internet that the fire happened in the structure’s kitchen and that all temple events have been cancelled or postponed.

“At this time we have not been granted access to the buildings except to remove the Torah scrolls,” Matassarin said. “Our insurance company has been notified and we hope to quickly commence the clean-up process to regain the use of our facility.”

He went on to say that more information will be forthcoming in as timely a manner as possible, and to check the temple’s website at http://www.tbsoc.com for updates.

Temple Beth Sholom is Orange County’s first Jewish temple, founded in 1943, according to its records.

The temple moved to its Tustin Avenue structure in 1983, and its main building was remodeled in the 1990s.

After making inquiries, FBI agents said they will not be investigating the blaze. “Looks like the O.C. Fire Authority has it (the investigation),’ FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Under federal law, the FBI usually investigates suspicious fires at religious establishments.

The fire did an estimated $300,000 in damage, $200,000 to the structure and $100,000 to its contents, according to the OCFA, which reported that the fire was accidental and involved a refrigerator.

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