The two alarm blaze that destroyed the third floor of the Philadelphia International Records (PIR) office building has officially been ruled as “incendiary.”
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers stopped short of calling the fire arson but the official cause was upgraded yesterday from “suspicious” to “incendiary.”
“It was set in a way that was not normal. It was set by a human being,” Ayers told the Philadelphia Daily News, “Now whether or not it is going to be arson [or accidental] is another case.”
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Ayers said no one was in custody for the blaze. That includes the man who was questioned after firefighters rescued him by ladder from a third-floor window during the fire.
Philadelphia International Records, which produced classics by legendary artists like Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson and Teddy Pendergrass, was responsible for generating over 100 Gold and Platinum records, producing and writing over 3,000 songs and charting over 70 number one hits throughout the 1960’s and 1970s.
Owners of PIR, producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, have produced countless classics including The O’Jay’s hit “Backstabbers”, Lou Rawles “You’ll Never find a Love Like Mine” and “The Soul Train” theme song.
Gamble and Huff said in a statement Tuesday that some lost items are “irreplaceable” but vowed to rebuild.
According to officials and published reports, although memorabilia and countless gold and platinum records were destroyed, the master recordings and studio were not affected by the blaze.