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Officials rule Delaware Chabad center fire an arson

No one hurt in blaze, but damages estimated at $75,000; incident comes after a Chabad center in Oregon caught fire twice last week

Screen shot of a broadcast by NBC local affiliate NBC 10 Philadelphia showing an aerial view of fire damage at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. The fire took place on August 26, 2020, and was ruled arson by authorities the following day. (screen capture)
Screen shot of a broadcast by NBC local affiliate NBC 10 Philadelphia showing an aerial view of fire damage at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. The fire took place on August 26, 2020, and was ruled arson by authorities the following day. (screen capture)

An arsonist torched the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at the University of Delaware in Newark, state fire officials said Wednesday.

“A criminal arson investigation is underway, with investigators following up on leads,” the local newspaper, the Newark Post, quoted assistant state fire marshal Michael G. Chionchio as saying.

The incident comes after the Chabad Jewish Center in Portland, Oregon, caught fire twice last week. Those blazes are under investigation by local authorities.

The blaze broke out at 11 p.m. Tuesday. The building was not occupied at the time.

It took 45 firefighters, including from neighboring fire companies, some 40 minutes to bring the fire under control, the paper reported.

We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support. Thank you.Thank G-d no one was hurt and the Torah’s were not…

Posted by Chabad of Oregon on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Anti-Defamation League’s Philadelphia office said in a statement it was “disturbed to learn that this fire at the University of Delaware Chabad was ruled an arson. We are monitoring this closely, and thank law enforcement and the fire marshal for their swift investigation. We look forward to learning more soon.”

The damage was initially estimated by fire officials at $75,000, the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office told WDEL radio. But people close to the Chabad center said the final tally will likely be much higher.

Classes at the university are scheduled to start next week.

Students who frequent the Chabad center launched a GoFundMe page after the fire.

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