Updated : Arson ruled as cause of fire at Jewish life center in Newark


The Delaware State Fire Marshal’s office has determined that arson was the cause of a fire at the Tuesday night at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life.No further details were released.

The Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Company, along with other fire departments were dispatched to the 200 block of South College Avenue.Crews arrived to find fire showing from the rear of the two-story structure.

According to an Aetna post, firefighters faced a number of factors including an unusual building layout (numerous rooms) as well as construction hazards.

Crews remained on scene for three hours extinguishing hot spots. No injuries were reported.

Damage is estimated at $75,000.

The University of Delaware issued a letter regarding the fire. Below is an excerpt:

We write to make you aware of an upsetting incident that occurred near the Newark campus last night. A fire at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life on South College Avenue caused extensive damage. Thankfully the building was unoccupied and no one was injured.

University of Delaware Police are assisting the Newark Police Department and the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s office in the investigation of this crime which has been ruled arson. At this time, the Fire Marshal’s office has found no indicators that this case was a hate crime, though a thorough investigation continues.

While not a University of Delaware-owned facility, the Chabad Center serves as a Jewish community center for our campus and sponsors a Registered Student Organization. It is an active part of UD’s religious, faith and spiritual diversity. We affirm our solidarity with the Jewish community at this difficult time.

The Office of the Dean of Students has connected with the University Religious Leaders Organization to offer support in the face of such a disturbing incident. Community at UD is first and foremost characterized by the people and values that define our culture, and also the spaces where we come together to share, learn and grow. Please always know that there are support services available to anyone in our community who needs them.Dennis Assanis, President,José-Luis Riera, Vice President for Student Life

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