Fire at Los Olas Chabad in Fort Lauderdale Was Arson, Not Hate Crime

Smoke fills the Las Olas Chabad Jewish Center as a result of arson on Shabbos morning, March 16, 2024. (FLRF)

By Hamodia Staff

An fire early Shabbos morning at the Las Olas Chabad Jewish Center, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida was arson but not a hate crime, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Fort Lauderdale Police spokesperson Casey Liening and Battalion Chief Greg May said that a call came into Fort Lauderdale Police and Fire Rescue a little after 7 a.m. concerning a vehicle fire at the center on Tarpon Drive and East Las Olas Boulevard. The fire spread from the car to the structure in which the Chabad Jewish Center was located before the fire fighters arrived. Within twenty minutes, they managed to extinguish the blaze, but the building suffered extensive damage. No one was inside the building and no one was injured.

Liening announced that Scott Hannaford, a 50-year-old a transient resident who has trespassed on the property before, has been charged with two counts of arson, criminal mischief, and possession of cocaine. He was identified within hours through investigative means by the local police, Liening reported. The suspect has a history of trespassing and drug charges, Broward County court records show.

“Based on the information we have at this time, this incident is believed to be an isolated incident by a known individual and is NOT considered a hate crime,” she said.

Rabbi Chaim Slavaticki is the Rabbi of the Las Olas Chabad Jewish Center.

The vehicle which was set on fire, causing the damage to the building which house the Las Olas Chabad Jewish Center. (FLFR)

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