Evidence Recovered At Duluth Synagogue Fire Scene

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said that new evidence was recovered at the scene of the Adas Israel Congregation fire that destroyed the 118-year-old building on Monday.

Tusken and Deputy Fire Marshal John Otis had limited updates at a Tuesday afternoon press conference but said that evidence and “hundreds of hours of video” from the area have been found.

“I’m not at liberty to say” what the evidence is, Tusken said. “It’s important to protect the chain of custody. We’ve interviewed many more people (since Monday’s press briefing). Just not necessarily people of interest.”

Tusken said that there is no indication of a threat to Temple Israel in Duluth or any other places of worship. Tusken said that there was no recent threats, signs of forced entry, or fire accelerant at Adas Israel.

The investigation is being treated as a criminal investigation.

“Anytime we do an investigation, we approach it as a criminal investigation until it’s not,” Tusken said. “That’s standard operating procedure for most departments.”

Tusken said that one of the challenges of the investigation is the location. There are several apartment buildings that surround the synagogue, which means looking for anyone who may have had a view.

“We’re doing a substantial canvas,” he said. “Our goal is to have face time from anyone who had a view. There are hundreds of apartments around it.”

Otis spoke to the public safety concerns of the site. He said that some of the building was demolished in the past 24 hours to help protect the public and mitigate risk.

“We’ve taken debris off city streets and we’re still people to stay away from area,” Otis said.

The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives field office in St. Paul has certified fire investigator was on the scene to assist with the investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the ATF Tip Line at 1-888-283-3473.