St. Leo's Church fire ruled an arson, $20k reward offered for information

Authorities on Thursday said the fire that destroyed the former St. Leo's Church in Tacony over the weekend was intentionally started. They have extended a $20k reward for information leading to a conviction. 

Firefighters were called to the former St. Leo's Church on the 6600 block of Keystone Street around 5 p.m. 

Large flames engulfed the century-old building which sent thick black smoke billowing high enough into the air to be noticed on I-95.

The Philadelphia Fire Department said the fire was upgraded to 2-alarms shortly after crews arrived. The fire was placed under control around 7:30 p.m. No injuries were reported.

SKYFOX was overhead Monday afternoon as crews began knocking down front wall of the church.

"With that wrecking ball, the first brick went down and turned around and saw the sadness in people’s eyes. I could see people filling up, because it’s part of history," stated Councilman Bobby Henon. 

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Chief Communications Officer Kenneth A. Gavin told FOX 29 that St. Leo's merged with Our Lady of Consolation Parish in 2013 and has not been used for regular mass celebrations for a long time.

The building, built in 1884 and placed on the Historic Register was sold recently. Although it hasn’t been used as a worship site since 2019, many say it holds countless memories.

RELATED COVERAGE

'So many memories': 2-alarm fire destroys defunct St. Leo's Church in Tacony

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