PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An arsonist who set a fire in 2018 in Old City, destroying condos and businesses, has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison. A judge told the prosecutor in the case “it takes an evil mind to commit this type of act.”
A man whose condo was lost in the fire told a judge Tuesday that his two children were sleeping inside when neighbors pounded on their door to get them to safety.READ MORE: New Jersey Native Carli Lloyd Makes USWNT Olympic History, Wins Bronze Medal At 2020 Tokyo Olympics
A February 2018 fire that burned for nine hours on the 200 block of Chestnut Street in Old City and destroyed so many businesses and even a condominium building where families lived is still fresh on the minds of so many.
“I remember everybody panicking and running out,” one man said.
About 160 people were displaced, and a few businesses never reopened.
“I never saw a whole city block and so many people affected by this fire. It’s sad,” resident Jeff Johnson said.
This is a photo of 32-year-old Imad Dawara, of Swarthmore, that appears to be from his Facebook.4 People Shot In Drive-By Shooting During Sidewalk Sale In Franklinville, Philadelphia Police Say
Federal prosecutors say he and his brother had taken out $750,000 in insurance on his hookah lounge just weeks before setting the blaze. He later admitted in court to charges connected to insurance fraud and arson.
A judge ordered Dawara Tuesday to serve nine years in federal prison.
“The judge thought anyone that was capable of doing that, risking lives, had to have some sense of evil,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanine Linehan said.
Linehan says it was very lucky no one was killed.
“I think the victims are happy to put this behind them and this is a just and fair resolution to a horrible case,” Linehan said.
The now-convicted arsonist said in court Tuesday he was deeply sorry about what happened.MORE NEWS: Reports: Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers Agree To 2 Year, $20M Deal
Dawara’s older brother is expected to be sentenced later this week.