A Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating suspicious fires set at Centers in Arlington and Needham in Massachusetts, MassLive reported.
A fire was set Thursday evening at the Chabad Center of Needham, MA, not long after a second of two suspicious fire at a Chabad House in Arlington, MA the evening before.
A Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating the suspicious fires set on Saturday night and on Thursday evening.
The first was on Saturday night around 11 p.m., when Arlington Police and Fire were called to the home on Lake Street to investigate a fire alarm.
Responders were met by the homeowners and their three children, who were inside a car in the driveway.
“We smelled a lot of smoke,” said Rabbi Avi Bukiet. “There was a ton of smoke inside in the basement going up to the first floor.”
Rabbi Bukiet told police that he and his wife and children left the home after they heard the alarm and smelled smoke. They were not injured in the incident.
Chanie Krinsky, who runs the Needham Chabad center with her husband, Rabbi Mendy Krinsky, reports somebody tried to set their house on fire.
“Thank G-d I pick up the smell of fire before anyone else in my house ever smells it. Thank G-d Mendy was outside with the fire extinguisher before the smoke alarms even went off. I woke my kids and jumped into the car and turned on the heat for them,” Chanie Krinsky wrote.
“Thank G-d we are all safe. Hashem has really been watching over us and the only damage was outside to some shingles.”
News of the fire comes as police in Arlington step up patrols around another Chabad Center, which had its second fire last night.
Arlington police and state authorities are investigating and searching for a potential suspect after a second suspicious outdoor fire was reported outside the home of Rabbi Avi Bukiet, that also serves as the Chabad Center for Jewish Life, on Thursday night, around 9 p.m.
State Police spokesman David Procopio confirmed to MassLive that the state police’s Fire Investigation Unit and Fusion Center are assisting in the investigation, as are troopers and federal agents assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The Fusion Center is an organization of state, federal and local law enforcement that share intelligence and resources.
A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the person or people responsible for setting fires at Chabad Centers in Arlington and Needham in Massachusetts.
The state fire marshal is offering a $5,000 reward, and the Anti-Defamation League is adding another $15,000, MassLive reported.
“This is not just an apparent attack on a Jewish house of worship, this is also an attack on a Jewish home,” said Robert Trestan, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League’s New England office. “Homes and places of worship are among the safest places not just for Jews, but for everyone in the country and in the community.”
At a press conference, Rabbi Avi Bukiet of the Chabad Center of Needham, MA, and Mrs. Luna Bukiet, who had 2 suspicious fires set outside their home this week, thanked the community for their support after the frightening incidents, and said they will not be deterred from their work of providing a Jewish community to anyone who seeks one.
“Our message is and will always be open doors,” Rabbi Avi Bukiet of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Arlington said Friday. “We are opening our doors to anyone. Anyone who wants to study, anyone who wants to learn, anyone who wants to have a little piece of spirituality and Judaism in their life, we will be there for you.”