$20K Offered in Arson That Destroyed Historic Northeast Philly Church

Authorities said the blaze was 'incendiary in nature'

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Authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for a fire that destroyed a historic Northeast Philadelphia church.

The two-alarm blaze gutted St. Leo the Great Church in the Tacony neighborhood Sunday afternoon. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the fire was “incendiary in nature” and that the bureau was working with the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Fire Marshal’s Office to investigate “this crime of violence.”

It took firefighters about 1 ½ hours to extinguish the flames.

St. Leo the Great Church, an imposing stone house of worship in Philadelphia’s Tacony neighborhood, is being demolished by a wrecking ball, a day after a fire tore through the 135 year old structure.

Built in 1884, St. Leo had been a community landmark in Tacony for more than 135 years. It became a worship site in 2013 after merging with Our Lady of Consolation Parish and it permanently closed in January 2019, according to a report by the Northeast Times. 

Anyone with information on the person or persons responsible for the fire is asked to call the ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477), email them ATFTips@atf.gov or reach out to them on their website.

People can also submit anonymous tips online to the Philadelphia Fire Marshal’s Office.

NBC10's Miguel Martinez-Valle reports Monday morning as firefighters continued to pour water onto hot spots on the smoldering remains of St. Leo the Great Church in Northeast Philadelphia's Tacony neighborhood.
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