The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ Philadelphia division has deemed arson was the cause of a fire that destroyed four rowhomes in the middle of an Ori Feibush property in Point Breeze.
“Investigators have conducted a thorough examination of the fire scene and have ruled the cause of the fire to be incendiary,” the agency said in a release, also noting a $10,000 reward for information.
The fire broke out at about 4 a.m. Monday on Feibush’s property at 20th and Wharton. The property, which featured 11 rowhomes, was in various stages of construction, with at least one family preparing to move in Monday afternoon, according to 6ABC. At least four of the homes were destroyed, and the fire damaged others.
One neighbor who saw the blaze told Billy Penn the fire department was using at least seven hoses to battle the two-alarm fire. Another neighbor said she took her kids and moved them down the block out of fear the fire would spread.
Monday afternoon, people were still coming up for views of the charred property and gossiping about who might have started it. Many of them referenced the tensions between Feibush, a City Council candidate in 2015, and people opposed to what they see as gentrification.
The fire came not long after a sign went up in the neighborhood equating the practices of Feibush’s company, OCF Realty, to modern-day colonialism.
Feibush could not be immediately reached for comment.
Tuesday night, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson released a statement condemning the arson and calling for “swift and severe justice” for whoever was involved.