Arsonist Sets Fire to Jewish Center at University of Delaware

Firefighters arrived at the scene to find the building engulfed in flames

University of Delaware Jewish Center Arson
Photo: Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Company

Authorities are searching for whoever set fire to the Jewish Center at the University of Delaware late Tuesday night.

Firefighters from several different departments responded to a 911 call at the Chabad Center, located on the campus of the university. According to, the firefighters found flames shooting from the building. While some firefighters staged an "aggressive" attack on the fire, others searched the center to make sure no one was trapped inside.

It took about an hour to extinguish the blaze. No one was injured. While the fire marshal originally estimated that the center sustained approximately $75,000 in damage, Chabad Rabbi Avremel Vogel told Delaware Online it's likely closer to $200,000.

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University of Delaware Jewish Center Arson
Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Company

The state fire marshal determined that the fire had been intentionally set -- but the arson is not yet classified as a hate crime at this time.

"The Fire Marshal's office has found no indicators that this case was a hate crime, though a thorough investigation continues," University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis and José-Luis Riera, vice president for student life, said in a statement obtained by WHYY-TV.

The property is not owned by the university, but the building was used as a Jewish community center. At least one student organization met in the building.

"Chabad at UD is the Jewish student's home away from home," the center says on its Facebook page. "We all need family at some point in time, and when yours isn't around the corner - Chabad is."

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