A fire broke out at the University of Delaware’s Chabad Center this week that fire investigators said was intentionally set. Firefighters were called to the scene Tuesday night just before 11:15 p.m. after receiving a 911 call about a fire at the Chabad Center's Newark building, located on South College Avenue.
Flames were shooting from the structure as firefighter personnel conducted an aggressive search of the interior to ensure that no one was inside. Fire crews were on the scene for three hours.
Investigators did not say where in the building the fire started but did say they believed it was arson. The blaze caused about $75,000 in damages, according to a report in the Delaware News Journal.
Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio said investigators have found "no indication of a hate crime," but said the investigation is still in its early stages and the fire marshal's office is "exploring all avenues.”
Chabad Rabbi Avremel Vogel along with other Chabad leaders although shocked by the crime was touched by the outpouring of support by the community, the Jewish community nationwide, and Delawareans up and down the state.
A GoFundMe campaign created by university students had already raised $150,000.
As Rosh Hoshana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, nears, Vogel vows to rebuild.
In a statement, Newark Mayor Jerry Clifton said, in part: "This is a sickening act of hostility that threatens the safety and security of our inclusive, welcoming neighborhoods. My thoughts are with the Jewish community and those affected by this tragedy.”
The Jewish center is not the only religious building to have recently been the target of arson.