Who set facility for disabled on fire?

October 24, 2009

For 21 years, JEVS Human Services building on the 5500 block of Wayne Avenue in Philadelphia's Germantown section was used as a day center for developmentally challenged adults.

It served over 70 clients.

"The program that was housed there was all about helping people live full rich lives in the community," Kristen Rantanan of JEVS said.

At 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday May 26, fire ripped through the building.

Firefighters battled the blaze for over an hour.

Investigators later determined that the fire started in a nearby dumpster and was deliberately set.

"It's hard to imagine that anyone would target a program that helped people with disabilities," Rantanan said.

The damage was estimated at more than $500,000 and included a signature mural that many of the JEVS' clients helped paint.

"The mural is a tremendous loss, the mural represented all of the wonderful things that happen in the building," Rantanan said.

The day center program has since been moved to another facility in the Germantown.

"We're an incredibly resilient organization," Rantanan said.

There is a $10,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the fire. You're urged to call 215-546-TIPS. All calls will remain anonymous.

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