Police investigating second suspicious fire at home of Arlington rabbi

ARLINGTON, Mass. — Police are now investigating a second suspicious fire at an Arlington rabbi's home.

The latest fire was reported around 9 p.m. Thursday, with light flames burning shingles on one side of Rabbi Avi Burkiet home on Lake Street, officials said. A police officer who was patrolling the neighborhood arrived within about 30 seconds of the first report and used a handheld extinguisher to put it out, Arlington Police said in a news release.

Arlington Fire Department officials and the state fire marshal responded to the home, which doubles as the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Arlington, a well-known place in the community for religious services and education.

Another suspicious fire at the home Saturday night is still under investigation and authorities are attempting to identify a person captured in video footage walking away from the home.

Accelerant detection K-9s from the Massachusetts State Police were also sent to the scene to assist investigators, State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said in an email early Friday morning.

Neither fire caused damage to the inside of the home and no one was injured, but both fires are considered suspicious. Acting Arlington Chief of Police Julie Flaherty said in a statement that a police officer will now detailed to Lake Street full time.

“These are extremely concerning incidents in which an innocent family has had the safety and security of their home compromised by some else’s violent actions,” Flaherty said.

Bukiet said after the Saturday fire that his synagogue had not received any threats.

"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 said.

An Arlington Police has placed a full-time detail officer on Lake Street.

The reward for any tips or information leading to the suspect has been increased to $20,000.

Anyone with information on these fires is urged to contact the Arlington Police Department at 781-643-1212.

Police in Needham are also investigating a suspicious fire at a Chabad center that happened at around 10 p.m. on Thursday.

While authorities have not linked the fires in Arlington to last night's incident in Needham, both communities are working together in an investigation.

Now, nearby towns say they are on high alert for potential arsons.

CAIR-MA has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.


Arlington PD trying to identify person seen near fire at Chabad Center, rabbi's house