Sections of JCC of Greater New Haven reopen after December fire

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WOODBRIDGE -

Parts of the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven reopened Monday after a massive fire closed the facility more than six months ago.

The indoor pool, four racquetball courts and the playscape area for kids once again became available for use among members. The JCC also kicked off its summer camp Monday at another building on site.

Those who returned to the center Monday haven't set foot on the 150,000-square-foot property since early December.

"Today's a very emotional day," said Judy Alperin, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. "Since the fire we've been working really hard to bring our community back home together and today is the first giant leap towards that."

The December fire caused extensive damage and hurt two firefighters. It was ruled accidental with investigators believing it began in the sauna area in the men's locker room.

The JCC's gym, dance studios, spas and most locker rooms remain closed. Various programs have also temporarily been moved off-site.

JCC officials say they hope to be fully returned to the original building by December.

Alperin says since the fire, the JCC has lost about 300 members but many say they'll return once everything is back in the building.

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