The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Citizens Crime Commission announced a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the May 9 fire at St. Leo the Great Church.
ATF is offering up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for setting the two-alarm fire. The Citizens Crime Commission is offering up to an additional $10,000, bringing the reward up to $20,000.
ATF has not said how the fire was started.
The fire destroyed the historical building located at 6658 Keystone St. (at Unruh Avenue) in Tacony and was determined to be incendiary in nature. ATF, the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Fire Marshal’s Office are working together to investigate.
Anyone with information on the person or persons responsible for the fire should contact ATF at 888-ATF-TIPS, ATFTips@atf.gov or www.atf.gov/contact/atftips. Tips can also be made to the Philadelphia Fire Marshal’s office at bit.ly/PHLarsontips.
All calls and tips will be kept confidential.
Demolition of the stone structure began a day after the fire.
St. Leo opened in 1894. In July 2013, the church closed and merged with Our Lady of Consolation. Both parishes were experiencing declining Mass attendance.
St. Leo remained a worship site, open for occasional Masses, funerals, weddings and baptisms, until January 2019, when the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced it would no longer be designated as a Roman Catholic church, citing the costs of maintenance.
Later in 2019, St. Leo was placed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. Earlier this year, the archdiocese sold the church to a real estate company.
St. Leo Elementary School closed in 2005. ••