Fire chief: Arson likely in blaze at pol's house

Posted: March 30, 2014

TOMAS SANCHEZ'S former man cave got a little burned yesterday - and fire officials are investigating the blaze as a possible arson.

An early-morning fire damaged a rowhouse owned by Sanchez and his wife, City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, on Hancock Street near Norris in North Philadelphia, officials said.

The blaze, which started just after 5:30 a.m., was easily contained, Fire Department Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said. The property, which the Sanchezes moved out of six months ago, was unoccupied at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported.

Investigators have ruled that the fire was "incendiary," according to Ayers - a finding that he said is "pretty much the same thing" as arson.

Sanchez, who trekked to the scene of the fire from her new home about a block away, said yesterday that the damaged residence bore signs of a burglary: Several TVs, a radio and a stereo were missing from the home, which was still fully furnished as the family prepared to sell it.

"This was not a vacant or blighted property; everything was still in there," she said. "We go in and out on a daily basis. There's always activity in there."

Sanchez and her husband relocated in September to an apartment in a building a block north of Norris Square. The move secured Tomas' eligibility to run in the 2014 Democratic primary election for the 197th state House seat held by J.P. Miranda.

Among other features, the pad on Hancock sported a much-touted "man cave" that included a pool table and stocked bar.

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