Authorities seek suspect, motive in Midwood fire believed to be arson

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Investigators are searching for the person they believe set a home in Midwood on fire Thursday.

Family members say they believe someone was targeting the rabbi who lived in the home where the fire started. They told News 12 he's received numerous death threats from a former student for at least a decade.

Investigators say they are focusing their attention on the front of the house as they search for evidence, in what they're calling an intentionally set fire.

Surveillance video that was shared with News 12 by a neighbor Thursday shows the moments the home burst into flames. The video appears to show someone running from the front of the house just moments after. News 12 is told this is one of several videos investigators are looking at.

Emergency crews were called to East 17th Street between Avenue O and Avenue N around 4 a.m. Investigators say they believe the fire spread from 1492 East 17th St. to the two homes on each side. Officials say 12 people were taken to the hospital, among them a 6-week-old baby. 

MORE: Officials still looking for what caused massive Brooklyn house fire

News 12 is told all of them are in stable condition, but that three homes were destroyed in the fire.

A family member also told News 12 that the rabbi and his wife are out of the hospital.

"They're both in shock," the family member said. "I don't think either of them seem to realize the extent of what has happened."

The relative gave News 12 the name of who they think started the fire, but officials have still not identified a suspect.

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