$15K reward offered in Temple University arsons
NORTH PHILADELPHIA - February 14, 2013 (WPVI) -- A $15,000 reward is being offered for information on the person who set fire to a dorm building under construction at Temple University.
"We take this very seriously. We're going to investigate this arson and we seek to identify the individual and have the individual arrested as quickly as we can," ATF Special Agent Steven Bartholomew said.
Morgan Hall is a $216-million student residential complex being built at the corner of Broad and Oxford.
It is comprised of one 27-story and another 10-story sky rise that will provide housing for 1,300 students when it opens this fall.
This week, authorities say an arsonist or arsonists have disrupted construction by setting a series of small fires. The arsons happened five times back on Monday and Tuesday.
"The damage is estimated at approximately $100,000 at this point," Bartholomew said.
Bartholomew said three individuals were treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation.
Union disputes have been blamed for other recent fires at city construction sites recently, but Temple officials say Morgan Hall is a completely union site and labor disputes are not suspected here.
Still, ATF investigators are not ruling out anybody.
"We will continue to analyze the arson scenes, analyze fire debris and conduct interviews related to this investigation," Bartholomew said.
Authorities declined to discuss how secure the construction site is, but it has been apparent that they were beefing up security around the chain-link fenced area.
Temple University put out an alert to students assuring them that the arson fires are isolated to the construction site and pose no threat to the Temple community.
Meanwhile, authorities are asking anyone that may have seen or otherwise have information about the arson fires to call ATF at 1-888-ATF-FIRE (1-888-283-3473) or city police.
philadelphia, temple, fire, arson, local/state
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