Members of the Poile Zedek Synagogue in New Brunswick, severely damaged by a 3-alarm fire on Friday afternoon remain in shock over the loss of the historic building.

Keith Krivitzky, CEO of the The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey wrote in an email to New Jersey 101.5  that "those at the synagogue are still wrestling with a bit of shock and loss. It is unclear yet what their plans are though the entire local Jewish community is saddened with them." Krivitzky notes he has been out-of-town and has not spoken directly to a representative of the Synagogue.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said that the fire started on the first floor of the historic synagogue built in 1923, but their investigation is ongoing into an exact cause. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995, according to the synagogue’s website, with about 100 families belonging to the synagogue.

The fire spread quickly according to a statement from the New Brunswick Fire Department with smoke and flames breaking through the roof shortly after firefighters arrived. Rabbi Abraham Mykoff ran inside the synagogue and rescued the Sefer Torah, according to, but its condition is not known.

Crews from Community (Franklin Township), East Brunswick Independent, East Franklin, Edison, Highland Park, North Brunswick Milltown and Sayreville all responded to the blaze.

The Associated Press contributed to this report