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36-year-old faces 1st Degree Arson in connection with Duluth synagogue fire

DULUTH, MN – A 36-year-old Duluth man is being held on a 1st Degree Arson charge in connection with Monday’s fire that destroyed a Synagogue in Downtown Duluth.

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken made the announcement during a Sunday morning news conference at Duluth City Hall.

Police arrested Matthew Amiot Friday in Downtown Duluth. He’s currently being held at the St. Louis County Jail on the felony charge.

Investigators have no reason to believe the fire is a hate crime at this time given the information they have, Chief Tusken said.

Amiot has a history of theft and trespassing, according to court records.

Police said Amiot does not have a “known address”.

Firefighters responded to the Adas Israel Congregation around 2:30 a.m. Monday. Captain Ben Gasner was hospitalized after being struck by falling debris. Gasner has been with the Duluth Fire Department for 19 years.

Duluth Fire Chief Shawn Krizag said the fire started outside of the synagogue. He said no accelerants were found at the scene.

Tusken said the investigation is still open. Anyone with information is asked to call the Duluth Police Department at 218-730-5020.

Amiot is due in court Tuesday or Wednesday, Tusken said.

The Adas Israel Congregation has asked that any gifts or notes that the public would like to be sent to the congregation should be sent to:

Kate Van Daele
City of Duluth
Room 402
Care of: Adas Isreal Congregation
411 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802

The Congregation says it’s planning on setting up a P.O. Box in the future.


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