ATF Offers Reward for Arsonist Who Lit $1M Blaze in Philly's Gayborhood

Agents want to talk to bald man seen in surveillance images

A blaze that tore through a series of buildings in Philadelphia's Gayborhood earlier this week, causing around $1 million in damage, was intentionally set.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Philadelphia Field Division, announced a $5,000 reward Thursday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever torched a restaurant that was under construction. They also released a series of surveillance images of a bald man in a long shirt who they want to identify.

Dozens of fire victims in Center City are waiting to see if they have a home to return to, after a fire engulfed a portion of a city block near 13th and Chancellor Streets.

“We encourage the public to provide any information that will aid investigators in quickly identifying and arresting the arsonist.” said ATF special agent in charge Sam Rabadi. “Intentionally setting a fire causes significant property damage, disrupts people’s lives, and can cause serious injury or worse. ATF will target those who commit criminal acts of arson and remove them from our streets in handcuffs.”

Center City Fire Photos

The fire started around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday inside a restaurant construction site at 13th and Chancellor streets. The blaze then spread to The Gramercy and The Chancellor apartment buildings, causing minor damage. Residents of The Gramercy and The Chancellor were evacuated as a precaution.

The fire reached three alarms before around 100 firefighters got it under control around 6:15 a.m.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of a fire that began at a Center City restaurant early Tuesday morning.

"Nothing burns like that, except something on purpose," said nearby hair salon owner Anthony Parisio.

L&I officials told NBC10 the property had six current work permits. An electrical permit expired on Sept. 6.

Anyone with information on the bald man or the arson is asked contact the ATF by email or phone, 1-888-ATF-FIRE (1-888-283-3473).

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