Man Held in Connection to Fire That Destroyed 119-Year-Old Minnesota Synagogue

Although the fire department said no accelerants were used to start the blaze, officials said Sunday that the fire spread quickly throughout the synagogue, which is facing major structural damage

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Mark Vancleave/Star Tribune via Getty Images

A man is being held in county jail in connection to the fire that burned down a Minnesota synagogue, police said on Sunday.

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said his department is recommending a first degree arson charge for Matthew James Amiot, 36, who has been held without bail since his Friday arrest, NBC News reports.

Amiot was arrested on Friday afternoon and gave a statement to police, but has yet to be charged. The Duluth PD, along with federal ATF investigators, are still looking into the motivation of the fire. A complaint is expected to be filed next week.

“At this moment in time, there is no reason to believe that this is a bias or hate crime,” Tusken said in a Sunday press conference, adding the classification of the crime is subject to change as the investigation continues.

Duluth police and firefighters responded to a report of a fire early Monday morning and found Adas Israel Congregation, a 119-year-old Orthodox synagogue, in flames.

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