Arson suspected in fire in house owned by councilwoman

House fire at home of Maria D. Quinones-Sanchez at N. Hancock and Diamond St. in Philadelphia on Friday. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
House fire at home of Maria D. Quinones-Sanchez at N. Hancock and Diamond St. in Philadelphia on Friday. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: March 30, 2014

PHILADELPHIA Authorities say arson caused a predawn Friday fire in a vacant North Philadelphia rowhouse owned by City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez.

Police, the fire marshal, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, part of a citywide arson task force, are investigating. William Dell, a battalion chief with the Fire Department, said the fire was reported at 5:33 a.m. and was quickly controlled with no injuries reported.

Quiñones Sánchez said she and her husband, Tomas Sánchez, lived in the Victorian on the 2000 block of North Hancock Street, near Norris Park, for 18 years before moving six months ago to a home two blocks away.

She said they moved in part so that her husband could challenge longtime State Sen. Christine Tartaglione in this year's Democratic primary.

Quiñones Sánchez said the house might have been torched by burglars, since two televisions were missing. She also wondered about motives, calling city politics "rough and tumble," but declined to speculate further.

She said many items were damaged, including her husband's art collection.

Crime-scene investigators removed sacks of evidence Friday. Detectives were tight-lipped about the investigation.


cvargas@phillynews.com

215-854-5520 @InqCVargas

Inquirer staff writer Jeremy Roebuck contributed to this article.

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