Point Breeze fire ruled arson; 12,500 reward offered

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced Tuesday a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for a fire in the early morning hours of May 1st at 20th and Wharton Streets in Point Breeze. Councilman Johnson increased that reward amount by $2,500 as a stand in solidarity with the community against the arson.

Investigators say they have conducted a thorough examination of the fire scene and have ruled the cause of the fire to be incendiary. The fire destroyed several residential properties that were in various stages of construction. There were no reported injuries as a result of the fire. Investigators are seeking assistance from the public that may aid them in solving this arson.

"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. "We are asking the public to provide any information that would lead investigators to those responsible for this arson."

The investigation is being conducted by investigators from the ATF, the Philadelphia Fire Marshal's Office, and the Philadelphia Police Department.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson released the following statement:

"I am alarmed and extremely disturbed to hear the 20 th & Wharton Street fire that took place in the early hours of Monday, May 1 st has been ruled arson. Vandalism of businesses and homes is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. Justice should be swift and severe for the many lives that were put in danger in the Point Breeze neighborhood. This criminal activity damaged multiple properties, recklessly endangered the lives of emergency personnel, and could have sent an entire neighborhood block up in flames. We are lucky no one was killed or seriously injured and I commend the Philadelphia Fire Department for their swift actions to contain the fire and minimize damage. The perpetrator(s) must be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Anyone having information regarding this arson should 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.