Feds: Large fire in Philadelphia 1 year ago was arson

The building was gutted by fire on Feb. 18. Adjacent buildings were damaged.

This building in Old City, Philadelphia was gutted by fire on Feb. 18. Adjacent buildings were damaged. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Federal authorities say a massive fire that prompted the evacuation of scores of people in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood a year ago was deliberately set.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Friday that a nearly yearlong investigation of the February 2018 blaze determined that it was “incendiary in nature.”

The bureau investigation continues in coordination with the city police and fire departments and the fire marshal’s office. No arrests have been reported.

Scores were evacuated after the early morning alarm and the flames spread to neighboring buildings. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that about 150 people were displaced.

The building was declared a total loss and the majority of the 166-year-old structure — except for a cast-iron facade on the first floor — was demolished.

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