Investigators stated this week that a fire set at the University of Delaware’s Chabad Center for Jewish Life was set intentionally. Although the local fire marshal has yet to declare that the fire is a hate crime, the state has launched an ongoing arson investigation. The fire, which burned for 45 minutes before it was extinguished, caused approximately $75,000 worth of damage.
According to a report by Campus Reform, the Jewish student center at the University of Delaware was intentionally set on fire on Tuesday evening. Firefighters struggled to get the fire under control for approximately 45 minutes before it was finally extinguished.
In a statement, Mayor Jerry Clifton of Newark, Delaware, said that the fire was a “sickening act of hostility.” Clifton promised to work diligently with local law enforcement to bring those that were responsible for the fire to justice.
“It is heartbreaking to learn the fire at the Chabad Center was set intentionally. 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,” Clifton said. “I have faith that the Newark Police Department and partner agencies will work tirelessly to identify the individual or individuals responsible and bring them to justice.”
University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis said in a statement published on Wednesday that the university will continue to cooperate with the Fire Marshal’s criminal arson investigation.
“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,” Assanis said. “At this time, the Fire Marshal’s office has found no indicators that this case was a hate crime, though a thorough investigation continues.”
The Chabad Center for Jewish Life served as a gathering space for Jewish students at the University of Delaware. Prior to the fire, the center hosted Shabbat meals, classes, and community events.
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