Philadelphia business owner and accomplice charged with starting fire that killed firefighter

Two Philadelphia men have been charged with conspiracy and malicious damage after a firefighter died in a blaze set to aid in a false insurance claim.

Federal prosecutors announced on Wednesday that the owner of a Philadelphia Building, which caught fire last summer and collapsed, killing one firefighter, and injuring another five, was indicted with another man, accused of setting the fire.

Al-Ashraf Khalil, a 29-year old city resident, and Isaam Jägerama are both charged with conspiracy and malicious damages. Khalil was initially charged last year but now faces charges of wire fraud, as well as using fire to further the fraud.



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The building was home to a pizza restaurant and some apartments upstairs. Khalil, Jaghama and others entered the basement of the restaurant and ignited a fire within the kitchen. The pair set fire to the restaurant so Khalil can file an insurance claim.

Al-Ashraf Khalil, a 29-year old Philadelphia resident, and Isaam Jägerhama have been charged with setting Khalil’s business on fire to profit from an insurance claim. The fireman who responded to the incident died. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer, via AP File)

The fire on June 18 killed Lt. Sean Williamson (51), who was trapped under the rubble. He was pronounced dead in the scene.



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After the fire started, eight people safely evacuated the apartment. However, the building collapsed once the blaze had been brought under control. Williamson was trapped inside.

Khalil was arrested at an airport in New York City after he refused to enter Jordan and told investigators that he did not have any travel plans. He was denied entry into Jordan, and arrested at an airport located in New York City. The authorities have stated that they used handcuffs with the initials of the deceased firefighter on them.



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R. Emmett Madden is Khalil’s lawyer. He has stated that his client did not play a role in the start of the fire. It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether Jaghama had retained an attorney. Both men face life imprisonment if found guilty.

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