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Monday, March 26, 2012

NJ - Firefighters put out blaze at Jewish community center in Union City

North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue firefighters have put out a fire that started in an alleyway between a Rabbinical school and a Jewish community center, officials said.

The Rabbinical school is located at the corner of 34th Street and New York Avenue.

Some cardboard boxes in the alleyway caught on fire, officials said.

A third-alarm was briefly called, but then canceled, officials said.

Fire officials believe a discarded cigarette may have started the blaze, but the cause is still under investigation. Because of high winds, the fire was starting to catch on the window sills of the school and traveled to the ceiling in the basement of the school, Police Chief Brian Barrett said.

There was great concern for some of the Torahs in the building, which are very old and priceless, Barrett said.

Some 200 people were evacuated from the school and center, officials said.

Firefighters arrived on the scene at 1:19 p.m. and the fire was declared under control at 2:20 p.m.

Students and staff at the school, ranging in age from 5 to 95, remain outside that building until the fire alarm system can be reset, officials said.

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