Jewish organizations have welcomed the Metropolitan Police’s decision to charge a man with arson following a fire at a property in Hackney, east London.

Ian Pitkin, 63, of Newick Road, Hackney, was arrested at the scene and appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The suspect reportedly made “allegedly antisemitic comments” during the time of his detainment, as confirmed by the Police.

Officers responded to the blaze on March 20, which resulted in injuries to four individuals.

According to the London Fire Brigade, eight engines and 60 firefighters were involved in extinguishing the flames.

Pitkin has been charged with arson with intent to endanger life, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and possession of an offensive weapon in a private place.

A spokesperson from the Community Security Trust (CST) stated: “This appears to be a very serious incident, and we appreciate the police’s swift action in arresting and charging a suspect. We have been in contact with the police since the incident, and we will be working with them to provide reassurance to the local Jewish community over the coming days.”

The spokesperson further commented: “Over the past few months, we have seen an extremely worrying surge in antisemitic violence, from beatings to knife-wielding. This suspected arson attack, if it had an antisemitic motivation, takes our society to a whole new level of hate. Was it not enough that Jews may, judging from the evidence, have been burned alive by Hamas on 7th October? We cannot sit by as that grotesque violence is potentially mimicked by Jew-haters in the UK. We thank the first-responders and medical practitioners for bringing the fire under control and treating the wounded, and commend the police for a swift arrest. Justice must now be done.”

Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway commented on the case: “We take instances of antisemitism extremely seriously, and for this reason, we’re investigating the incident as a potential hate crime. Undoubtedly this will be extremely concerning news for our Jewish communities in Hackney and beyond.”

He added: “While the investigation will continue to explore the motivation for this offense, we believe at this stage that this was centered on a localized housing-related issue. We have no indication, at this very early stage, that the motivation was connected with any specific local or global events.”