Suspicious Fire at Home of Arlington Rabbi Under Investigation

A Lake Street neighbor captured an image of a person in the area around the time of the fire

Massachusetts authorities are investigating a fire that happened outside the home of a rabbi in Arlington.

Police and firefighters responded to the rabbi's Lake Street home at 11 p.m. Saturday to investigate an activated fire alarm.

When crews arrived, the homeowners and their three children were in a parked vehicle in their driveway. The homeowner told police the family fled the home after they heard the fire alarm and smelled smoke.

Firefighters located a small fire burning on the wood shingles of one side of the home and quickly extinguished the blaze.

The fire has been deemed suspicious.

The male homeowner told police he is a rabbi and conducts religious services at his home and that his address, as a religious site, is publicly available on the internet. Before the fire, he had not received any threats nor did he notice any suspicious activity in the area.

"Out of respect for the privacy of the resident, in the early phases of this investigation, we did not draw attention to the fact that the resident is a rabbi, but as this investigation has continued and after consulting with the resident and the Arlington Human Rights Commission, we unfortunately have to leave open all possibilities until the investigation is complete," Acting Chief of Police Julie Flaherty said. "We strongly encourage anyone who may have information about this fire or the suspicious person seen leaving the area to contact the Arlington Police Department."

During the investigation, police discovered that a neighbor had captured an image of a person on surveillance walking away from the area at the time of the fire.

Anyone with information on the fire or the person in the surveillance image is urged to contact Arlington Police at 781-643-1212.

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