Arrest in Center City restaurant fire investigation

About 100 firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze, which erupted shortly before 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 15 at 208 S. 13th St., damaged the planned restaurant and two apartment buildings. (CHARLES FOX/Staff Photographer)

A Philadelphia man was arrested Wednesday after allegedly setting a fire that caused more than $1 million in damage to a restaurant under construction in Center City, authorities said.

Stephen Pettiway was arrested without incident in the area of 17th and Blavis Streets in Nicetown by the ATF Citywide Arson Task Force, ATF spokesman Steve Bartholomew said.

Pettiway was scheduled to appear in federal court early Thursday afternoon to face a charge of arson, Bartholomew said.

The investigation, with help from the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments, was continuing, he said.

About 100 firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze, which broke out shortly before 4:30 a.m. Sept. 15 at 208 S. 13th St., and damaged the planned restaurant and two apartment buildings.

No residents or firefighters were injured.

Sylva Senat, the chef who was to run the new French restaurant, Maison 208, at the site, could not be reached for comment.

The fire was believed to have started at the permitted construction site, which was previously the site of the Letto Deli, now razed.

The ATF later released surveillance images showing a man wanted in connection with the fire. Pettiway was the man in those images, Bartholomew said.

The ATF reported that Pettiway is 52, but Philadelphia police said their records showed he is 53.

bmoran@phillynews.com

215-854-5983 @RobertMoran215