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Workers Try to Stabilize Fire-Damaged Synagogue

By DNAinfo Staff on July 16, 2011 2:41pm  | Updated on July 16, 2011 7:47pm

By Paul Lomax and Tom Liddy


MANHATTAN — Construction workers took measures Saturday to stabilize the century-old Upper East Side synagogue that was badly damaged in a fire earlier this week.

Cranes were positioned in front of Kehilath Jeshurun synagogue, on East 85th Street between Park and Lexington avenues, and workers hoisted a device inside that was designed to help shore up the structure.

Saturday afternoon, the workers were expected to start removing debris from the building.

"This synagogue was the main center of our Jewish community," said resident Betty Schnek, 50.  "No one knows what happened.  Maybe the wood was dry or something? I certainly don't think it was terrorists."

The house of worship was gutted in a four-alarm blaze Monday night that injured five emergency workers.

It had been under construction since May 2 and all of the religious artifacts inside had been removed.  Construction was expected to be completed by the fall.