Construction contractors made a horrific discovery when they arrived at the former Sushi Kingdom restaurant next to Philadelphia Mills mall on Monday to repair some broken windows. There was a dead, charred body inside the shuttered eatery.
The workers arrived at 427 Franklin Mills Circle at about 2 p.m. intending to repair some broken windows, entered the property and found the remains of a man inside a room. The victim has not been identified.
“When they went in to see what kind of tools they were going to need for the job, they discovered a body in a room that was charred,” said Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum of Northeast Detectives.
The body had been burnt, but there didn’t appear to be structural fire damage. Police are unsure if the body was set on fire on site or if it had been dumped there, but they have a hunch.
“From what we’re looking at, in our experience, we think it happened here,” Rosenbaum said.
The workers summoned police and fire department units to the scene. Paramedics pronounced the person dead at 2:24 p.m. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause and manner of death. A fire marshal is investigating the circumstances of the fire.
Police are considering multiple scenarios. Was the man a squatter who set himself on fire while trying to stay warm? Was there problem with the utility service? Did burglars damage the site? There have been no reports of fire or break-ins at the address, authorities said.
Sushi Kingdom closed to business in late 2015. Previously, the building housed the original Northeast Philly Hooters restaurant. ••
— William Kenny