Officials say Bensalem dance studio fire was arson

BENSALEM, Pa. (WPVI) -- A Bucks County business was badly damaged in a fire early Monday morning, and investigators say someone started the blaze on purpose.

The fire broke out at the Bucks County Dancer Center on the 2200 block of Street Road in Bensalem.

The brother and sister owners of the studio were too upset to go on camera, but relative Michael Licata expressed sadness.

"They are pretty devastated, and they just gotta collect themselves and figure out what to do next," he said.

Bensalem Police say it was around 4:00 a.m. when a patrol officer spotted the building on fire.

Firefighters got the blaze under control and no one was injured, but the building appears to a total loss.

The building housed two vacant apartments in the back and investigators say an arson dog detected accelerants there.

Lt. William McVey of Bensalem Police explains, "What specifically he hit on, I'm not sure. But there is evidence they based their decision on."

Licata says the center was established in 1958 by his wife's parents, two performers who decided to settle their family in Bensalem.

Thousands learned to dance at the center over the year, and roughly 200 students were currently enrolled in classes.

Now the owners will have to find a new space until they can rebuild.

Licata says, "I can't imagine that there would be anyone who would have malicious intent against the studio."

The investigation is continuing at this time.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Bensalem Fire Rescue at 215-633-3617 or Bensalem Police at 215-633-3719.
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