Vancouver – Vancouver Police are investigating an arson outside a synagogue last night, and have mobilized additional officers to Jewish community centres, schools, and religious institutions.

“This fire was intentionally set at a place of worship for the Jewish community,” says Constable Tania Visintin. “While we collect evidence to identify the person responsible, we’re also working closely with faith leaders and community members to ensure everyone’s safety.”

Vancouver Police and Vancouver Fire Rescue Services responded around 10 p.m. Thursday to a fire near the entrance of Schara Tzedeck Synagogue, on Oak Street at West 18th Avenue. Investigators believe an accelerant was used to light a fire at the front of the building.

The fire did not cause significant property damage or injuries, and was put out by members of the synagogue before it could spread.

VPD’s Major Crime Section are leading the criminal investigation, and officers from VPD’s Diversity, Community & Indigenous Relations Section are conducting extensive community outreach.

The incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Additional officers have been positioned at various locations in the city, including synagogues, Jewish community centres, religious schools, and public schools in the area.

“We’re doing everything in our power to solve this crime, while providing reassurance, comfort, and safety to the community,” adds Constable Tania Visintin. “We will continue to have an higher police presence in strategic locations throughout the coming days, as this investigation unfolds.”

Anyone with information, or anyone with camera footage from their home or vehicle, is asked to call VPD’s Major Crime Section at 604-717-2541.