Brothers Charged with Starting Philadelphia Blaze to Collect Insurance Money

October 21, 2019

Authorities say a blaze that tore through a Philadelphia building last year was set by two brothers who owned a business there and wanted to collect insurance money.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said Thursday that 39-year-old Imad Dawara, of Swarthmore, and 41-year-old Bahaa Dawara, of Woodlyn, were charged with planning and causing the arson.

The brothers owned a hookah lounge in the Old City neighborhood. Authorities say that on the same day their landlord threatened to evict them because of overdue payments, Imad Dawara purchased a $750,000 insurance policy.

Two weeks later, the blaze broke out. Authorities say Bahaa Dawara started the fire.

Court records do not list attorneys for either man.

The fire displaced more than 150 people and closed a popular shopping and dining area of the neighborhood for months.

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