2 brothers admit setting fire that closed Old City stores in 2018

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Two Delaware County, Pennsylvania brothers have admitted to setting their business on fire, decimating an Old City block three years ago.

On Thursday, Imad and Bahaa Dawara pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

The siblings were charged after their hookah bar and lounge at 2nd and Chestnut streets went up in flames in February of 2018, causing more than $20 million to the retail block.

SEE ALSO: 4-alarm fire in Old City ruled arson, ATF says
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4-alarm fire in Old City ruled arson, ATF says. Jeff Chirico reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on February 15, 2019.

The blaze destroyed a neighboring business and gutted two mid-rise buildings, leaving 160 people homeless. A number of pets also died.

Officials say the brothers set the fire for insurance money, following a dispute with their landlord. Federal prosecutors say the Dawaras had taken out $750,000 in insurance weeks earlier.

The Dawaras, who used gasoline to start the blaze, would serve nine years in prison and pay $22 million in restitution under terms of the plea agreements entered Thursday. Their sentencing is set for June.

SEE ALSO: Brothers indicted in 2018 Old City arson
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Brothers indicted in 2018 Old City arson. Maggie Kent reports during Action News at 4pm on October 17, 2019.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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