A Jewish faith centre "significantly" damaged by fire was caused by candles left "unattended".
Essex Fire Service said the accidental blaze at the Jewish Congregation of Canvey Island, on Meppel Avenue, started at about 21:00 GMT on Sunday.
Seven crews from Canvey, Rayleigh, Basildon, Leigh, Orsett, and Southend took about two hours to put it out, a fire service spokesman said.
Firefighters worked with the local community to salvage items.
Simon Dedman, fire investigation officer, said: "The use of candles always goes up this time of year, and unfortunately that means we also see a spike in the number of candle-related fires.
"If you use candles it's really important that you never leave them unattended, make sure they are a safe distance from anything flammable and always extinguish them before leaving the room."
Joel Friedman, a community co-ordinator, said the candles were part of its Chanukah celebrations that were "either misplaced or fell down."
He said the fire spread "very rapidly" but the building was evacuated and "the boys" got out safely.