Massachusetts police investigating fire at rabbi’s home, Chabad center
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Massachusetts police investigating fire at rabbi’s home, Chabad center

No injuries in ‘suspicious’ small blaze; police hunting individual spotted walking away from building shortly before flames were discovered

Security camera footage shows an individual police want to question in connection with a fire at the home of a rabbi, which serves as a Chabad community center, in Arlington, Massachusetts on May 11, 2019 (Screen grab)
Security camera footage shows an individual police want to question in connection with a fire at the home of a rabbi, which serves as a Chabad community center, in Arlington, Massachusetts on May 11, 2019 (Screen grab)

Police in Arlington, Massachusetts, have opened an investigation into a “suspicious” fire on Saturday at the home of a rabbi in a building which also serves as a Chabad community center.

Police and fire services were called to the location on Saturday evening, where they found the homeowners and three children had safely evacuated the building.

Firefighters discovered a small fire burning on one side of the house, and quickly controlled the blaze. There were no injuries reported in the incident.

“We smelled a lot of smoke,” said Rabbi Avi Burkiet, according to Boston 25 News. “There was a ton of smoke inside in the basement going up to the first floor.”

Rabbi Avi Burkiet shows the damage to his home, which also serves as a Chabad community center, after a fire on May 11, 2019 (Screen grab via Boston 25 News)

“I don’t want to jump to any conclusions at this point,” said Rabbi Bukiet, who noted that the synagogue had not received any threats. “Let’s wait and see what happens and what is the source of this.

“An unsettling time for everyone, but there’s so much love and so much support that goes around and at these moments you see people coming to the fore and coming to the surface and really showing how much of a community we are,” he added.

A neighbor provided security camera footage to the police, which they said appeared to show a suspicious individual walking away from the building shortly before the fire was discovered.

Police said the individual has a distinctive gait, and appealed for the public to help identify them.

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