Residents Fear Serial Arsonist May Be Targeting Jews in Queens

Investigators are asking for the public's help to find an arsonist who has been targeting construction sites in Queens and some residents fear the fires could be hate crimes.

The most recent fire happened at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday at a house under construction on 69th Road in Forest Hills. The building site had been set ablaze once before -- on Nov. 15, officials said.

One firefighter was slightly injured in Sunday's fire, which was extinguished by 2 a.m., according to the FDNY.

Three other suspected arson fires occurred in November within a few blocks of Sunday's fire -- all at construction sites in this part of Queens, police said.

There have been seven suspected arson fires in the area since Oct. 20, investigators said.

Residents of the neighborhood said they worry that a fire set at a construction site might spread to an occupied house. Some suggested that the neighborhood might be targeted for hate crimes. The owner of the site that was torched Sunday is a Bukharan Jew.

Police initially had released a photo of a man on a motorcycle being sought in connection with the case but said Monday he was no longer considered a person of interest. 

Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers at (800)577-TIPS.

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