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(SAN FRANCISCO) — A fire Wednesday at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco is the result of an incendiary device that was intentionally set off, investigators said Thursday. No one was injured in the blast, but the consulate’s door and lobby were damaged.

“An incendiary device fueled by gas was detonated at the consulate,” said David Johnson, FBI Special Agent in charge at the San Francisco field office. “[The] San Francisco police department as well as the fire department responded immediately.”

Surveillance video shows a person dousing the building’s doorway with a liquid — possibly gasoline — and setting it on fire.

The investigation is still in its early stages but authorities are treating the incident as a criminal matter and not one of national security.

“We’re treating this as an isolated incident so again, at this time, we don’t have any further information regarding any links or ties to incidents…across the country if there are any,” said Peter Lee, an FBI spokesperson at the San Francisco field office.

At a State Department briefing Thursday, spokesperson Marie Harf expressed the agency’s concern about Wednesday’s fire.

“The United States is deeply concerned by reports that the Chinese consulate in San Francisco was damaged after being targeted by an arsonist on Wednesday, January 1. We take this incident very seriously, and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security is working with the FBI and local authorities to investigate and apprehend the perpetrators. Department officials are communicating with Chinese officials to provide support and updates on the case.”
Harf did not have any information about whether security would be increased at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., or at other Chinese diplomatic installations in the U.S.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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