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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Few details released on temple van fire probe

By Debra Glidden
Thursday, October 27, 2005


SWAMPSCOTT -- Officials are releasing few details in the investigation of Saturday's van fire at Chabad Lubavitch of the North Shore.
The fire was reported at 2:30 p.m., and according to police the vehicle, which was parked in the driveway at 44 Burrill St., belongs to the temple.
Swampscott Fire Lt. Bruce Gordon, who is heading the investigation for the fire department, said the fire was extinguished before firefighters arrived on the scene.
"The van is still being processed," Gordon said.
The vehicle was towed to the Swampscott Police Department where the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.
Police Chief Ronald Madigan and Gordon said they could not confirm or deny whether dogs were used to determine the presence of accelerants.
Swampscott Police Department, Swampscott Fire Department, Massachusetts State Police and Massachusetts State Fire Marshal's Office are investigating the incident.
Because the incident occurred at a temple, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was also notified.
Calls to Rabbi Yosef Lipsker of Chabad Lubavitch of the North Shore were not returned this week and a spokesman for the New England chapter of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said it did not have enough information to comment on the incident.
Earlier this month, High Holy Days were marred by vandals who placed anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls inside Chabad Lubavitch just days before Rosh Hashana. According to police detectives, someone entered the synagogue through an unsecured door. The congregation has only been at that location since the summer of 1999 when it purchased the property, which was formerly a Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Detective Ted Delano urged area residents who may have spotted suspicious activity in the vicinity of the temple to contact police at (781) 595-1111.

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