Investigators: Second Arson At A Delaware Chabad Center For Jewish Life

The Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal is investigating a deliberately started fire on the exterior of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life located in the 1800 block of Silverside Road in Wilmington, Delaware, according to Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio.

Chionchio said the attempted arson occurred on Friday, October 30, 2020, around 12:30 am. A fire was intentionally started outside of the Chabad Center. The building did not sustain any damage. The fire was extinguished promptly before flames could extend into the structure. The damage was estimated at $200.

This is the second arson in Delaware at a Chabad Center for Jewish Life in the last two plus months. On August 25, 2020, a person or persons intentionally damaged the Chabad Center for Jewish Life located on South College Avenue in Newark, Delaware. The fire was determined to be arson and the criminal investigation remains active. No arrests have been made in either case.

Anyone with information pertaining to these arsons is asked to call the State Fire Marshal’s – New Castle Division at (302) 323-5375, email us at Fire.Marshal@delaware.gov or call Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333.

In the Newark incident, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division announced a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for setting fire to a townhouse on Aug. 17 and the Chabad Center for Jewish Life on Aug. 25, both in Newark. At this time, investigators do not have evidence linking the two fires together but have not ruled out that possibility. ATF Special Agents from the Wilmington Field Office are working alongside the Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on Aug. 17, a fire was discovered inside a townhouse under construction in the unit block of East Cleveland Avenue. The interior of the townhouse was damaged by fire, which investigators determined to be intentionally set, officials said Monday. The townhouse was unoccupied when the fire damage was discovered and there were no reported injuries. Damage is estimated at $5,000. An individual was captured on video surveillance in the area of East Cleveland Avenue on the morning of the fire has been referred to as a person of interest but may be a witness. Investigators would like to speak with the individual regarding anything suspicious they may have seen.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on Aug. 25, a blaze was reported in the 200 block of South College Avenue. The building where the fire occurred houses the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and the fire was determined to be intentionally set. Heavy fire damage is estimated at $200,000. There were no reported injuries. Officials said there is currently no indication to suggest that this fire was a hate crime.

Anyone with information about either of these fires, about the person or persons who committed either of these fires, or about the individual in the video is asked to contact investigators immediately. To provide tips to ATF Special Agents, call 888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477) or send an email to ATFTips@atf.gov. To provide tips to the Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal’s New Castle Division, call 302-323-5375 or email fire.marshal@delaware.gov.
ATF is the federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov. Follow @ATFBaltimore on Twitter for more news about ATF’s work in Delaware and Maryland.

About Staff Writer

First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

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