Arsonist Takes Aim at Dorm

Three agencies looking for arsonist who set five fires on local campus

By Vince Lattanzio
|  Thursday, Feb 14, 2013  |  Updated 4:15 PM EDT
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Arsonist Takes Aim at Dorm

Betsy Manning/Temple University

Morgan Hall, a $216 million residence hall complex, under construction on Temple University's North Philadelphia campus. Six fires were set over two days at the construction site, the ATF says.

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Two city departments and a federal agency are trying to uncover who set a series of fires at Temple University.

Five fires were started over the past two days at Morgan Hall -- a two-building, $216 million residence complex under construction at Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia. The hall consists of a 24-floor and 10-floor tower and will house more than 1,200 students.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Philadelphia Fire Department and Philadelphia Police all have open investigations.

ATF Special Agent Steven Bartholomew says the agency's arson task force is on the job. He says the fires have caused $100,000 in damage. 

A Temple University spokesperson says all six fires were set during the day and involved construction debris. Construction remains on schedule.

Three construction workers were sent to the hospital with smoke inhalation after one fire, Bartholomew said.

Philadelphia Fire Executive Chief Richard Davison says the department works with the ATF on investigations at times. He says there are no persons of interest at this time.

The university sent an alert to students and staff Tuesday saying the fires "pose no threat" to the community.

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