Hate crime? ‘Suspicious’ Jewish summer camp fires under investigation

“Suspicious elements” were discovered by emergency crews at the scene of the blaze, which caused some $450,000 in damage to Jewish summer camp.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Two suspicious fires near a Jewish summer camp in Canada were possibly arson attacks that were motivated by antisemitic hate, according to Canadian news reports.

The fires, which caused some $600,000 Canadian (about $450,000 U.S.) in damage, occurred at Camp B’nai Brith. The children’s summer camp is located near the village of Quyon in Quebec.

A warehouse belonging to the camp was engulfed in flames, and while firefighters were battling that blaze, a second building caught fire, CTV News Ottawa reported.

The blazes occurred at about 4:30 a,m., police said. No one was on-site at the time of the fires, and there were no injuries.

Due to “some suspicious elements” discovered by emergency crews at the scene, local law enforcement transferred the investigation to the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais police.

“At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that this was an antisemitic or racially motivated act; however, it is still too early in the investigation to rule out this possibility,” the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais police said in a statement.

“At this point I don’t want to speculate on anything, but anytime there is potential damage or whatever the case may be, I think you always worry about the community that you reside in or operate in,” said Adam Tanner, chairman of the board of the directors for Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa, told CTV News Ottawa.

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“We’ve been on site for decades, dating back to the 1940s, and have always had a great relationship with the local community. I don’t want to speculate in terms of anything that’s happened, but when stuff like this happens you think about the broader group for sure.”

Noting that this was the first fire at the camp since it was opened some 80 years ago, Tanner added that “until we’re able to say more about the situation, I don’t want to speculate.”