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Only On Fox: Investigators Say 4th Street Explosive Device Could Have Triggered Fire

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PHILADELPHIA -

Investigators from the Federal Arson and Explosives Task Force spent Tuesday morning inside a storefront looking for clues after a sophisticated explosive device was discovered on Monday night.

"The incident is related to an attempted arson, and a suspected incendiary device was recovered from the location," ATF Agent Steven Bartholomew told Fox 29.
 
Investigators are trying to find out who built and placed the working device inside the offices, which signs say used to house Platinum Real Estate. L and I inspectors had slapped a "stop work" order on the building, just hours before the device was found.
 
"It's being treated as a criminal act and will be investigated as such," Batholomew said.
 
The storefront is just two doors down from the site where Fire Battalion Chief Michael Goodwin lost his life in a 3-alarm fire, one year ago this month. ATF says the two incidents do not appear related, but investigators and store owners are taking this very seriously.
 
"I was kind of terrified, given everything that's been going on in the neighborhood," Brian Vans Arsdale told Fox 29. He owns Bicycle Revolutions a few doors away. He and another shop owner smelled something unusual Monday evening and called PGW out to the block just before the device was discovered.
 
"Somebody thought paint thinner spill, do we have any gasoline in the basement or anything like that," Van Arsdale explained.
 
Sources say the makeshift incindiary device was plugged into an electrical outlet that was wired to an illegal power hookup outside. Sources say the device was capable of igniting the building and triggering a potential fire along this row of stores packed with fabrics.
 
"Intentionally setting fires can cause significant property damage , injury or worse," Bartholomew said.
 
"Would have had the potential to really wipe out everything we have here," Van Arsdale said.
 
ATF says investigators are now pouring over the evidence recovered at the site looking for clues.

"Items recovered from the location will be sent to the ATF laboratory for analysis and evaluation," he added.
 
Task Force investigators, which includes Philadelphia Police and fire department personnel, are looking for surveillance video and witnesses who may have seen people coming and going from the building on Monday evening. Anyone with information can call the police or the ATF.

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