Sgt. Bernard Hattersley, Officer Brian Conover and Officer Patrick McCarthy responded to the Congregation Shaya Ahavat Torah located on Hawkins Avenue to investigate a report of a structure fire after an individual entered the Temple at approximately 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 11 and noticed the smell of smoke.
He exited the temple and spoke to a neighbor who saw flames towards the rear of the building. The neighbor ran to his house and returned with a fire extinguisher as 9-1-1 was being called to report the blaze. The neighbor was able to contain the flames with the extinguisher and a garden hose until Parsippany Fire Districts 5 and 4 arrived at the location and extinguished the blaze.
They then remained at the location to overhaul that area of the building to ensure it would not reignite. Officer David Cavaliere as well as Det. David Guth whose function as Arson Investigators for the Parsippany Police Department arrived as Arson Investigators from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office were responding.
The fire was determined to have been accidental in nature.. The motor of a sump pump that had been operating after the heavy rains on Wednesday evening seized up. The cord that supplied electrical power to the pump overheated and caused the fire to occur. Our department took the initiative to email the other Synagogues in the township to notify them of the incident as our patrol units were directed to increase their presence near the other two temples in Parsippany until the investigation was completed.
There were no injuries reported.