Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Fire that damaged homes under construction in Point Breeze havs been ruled arson

Point Breeze blaze ruled arson; $10,000 reward offered

POINT BREEZE (WPVI) -- A massive fire in the Point Breeze section of Philadelphia has been ruled arson, and now reward of up to $10,000 is being offered as the investigation continues.

That money is for the arrest and conviction of the person responsible, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said on Tuesday.

"Acts of arson are dangerous crimes and threaten the community. ATF is committed to keeping the public safe from those who maliciously set fires," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Sam Rabadi said in a statement.

The fire destroyed several residential properties at 20th and Wharton that were either complete or under construction early Monday morning.

Firefighters not only had to deal with the flames, but also a collapse as the flames consumed the buildings.

They were able to contain the blaze and place the situation under control within an hour.

Investigators have not said what a possible motive could be for setting the fire.

Residents said on Monday that the neighborhood in general was excited, but not everyone was welcoming of the new development.

"The developer is a friend of ours," said resident Chris Payne on Monday. "It's kind of been under contention because of gentrification issues. Some people who've lived in this neighborhood for a long time were not looking forward to seeing this development go in."

Anyone with information is asked to call the ATF 24/7 hotline at 1-888-ATF-FIRE (1-888-283-3473), email: ATFTips@atf.gov or submit a tip anonymously by using the ReportIt App on your mobile phone.

Fire destroys homes in Pt. Breeze: Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at noon on May 1, 2017.

Fire damages homes under construction in Point Breeze. John Rawlins reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on May 1, 2017.