The Knights of Columbus building on Maple Avenue in Fair Lawn went up in flames around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Member Frank Sylvester is clueless as to why anyone would target the Knights.
"I have no idea," he said. "We are a charitable organization that does a lot for the town."
The front window was smashed, while the room adjacent to it was torched. Sylvester said a witness saw someone with the incendiary object.
"He saw a gentleman throw something through the window, and then light, and then it went up," he said. "He yelled when the alarm went off, and the guy dropped everything and ran."
Authorities say he left a pair of gloves and a milk jug filled with gasoline in the process.
"At first, it's anger," member Herb Currie said. "But then it changed over to, 'we lucked out.'"
The building was empty at the time, and no injuries were reported.
"I saw smoke coming out of the VFW," witness Jess Ritgers said. "We came back, spoke to the guys from the bar who were collecting before the fire line was put up. They said earlier, a window was broken in the facility, and that the guy ran away."
The trustees rushed to the building and were there all night, assessing the fire damage that is primarily confined to the front offices. There was some water and smoke damage throughout the building as well.
"We're really very sad, because we put a lot into this building," Sylvester said. "We've been remodeling it, and it's all to raise money to give away. And that's our biggest goal."
The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office is investigating.