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Fire at University of Delaware’s Chabad House Deemed as Arson

Chabad Fire.jpg

A Tuesday night fire that badly damaged the University of Delaware’s Chabad Center is believed to have been intentionally set, fire investigators said Wednesday afternoon.

Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Company, along with a handful of other fire departments, was called to the Jewish center on South College Avenue just before 11:15 p.m. Tuesday after receiving a 911 call about the blaze.

Responding fire personnel found flames shooting from the structure, the state fire marshal’s office said. Firefighters began an “aggressive” interior attack, while others searched the center to ensure no one was inside.

Fire crews were on scene for about three hours extinguishing small pockets of fire once the initial blaze was extinguished. The state fire marshal’s office began investigating shortly thereafter.

As of Wednesday afternoon, investigators had not said where in the building the fire began, but did say they believe it was arson. The blaze caused about $75,000 worth of damage to Chabad.

Chabad officials could not immediately be reached for comment about the fire.

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.”