Authorities make arrest in arson at Lancaster City Hall

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LANCASTER, P.A. — UPDATE: Police have made an arrest in the arson at Lancaster City Hall.

Authorities have charged Dwain London, Jr. with terrorism, arson, reckless burning or exploding, institutional vandalism and conspiracy after he was accused of starting a fire that damaged the doors of City Hall and a city vehicle.

During a press briefing, police told FOX43 that they have surveillance video showing London Jr. and a second unknown suspect carrying gasoline after purchasing it at a local Turkey Hill store.

Police and the Mayor of Lancaster say they were able to recognize London, Jr. because of his attendance at a city hall meeting the night before the fire. The mayor says he was at the meeting to talk about issues involving property he owns.

London, Jr. is currently awaiting arraignment.

PREVIOUSLY: Authorities are looking into, what they believe, is an arson attack that damaged city hall and a city-owned vehicle early Wednesday morning.

Fire officials say they were called to the two fires at 3:45 a.m.

Chief Scott Little with Lancaster Bureau of Fire said the two fires were happening, simultaneously.

“The first engine on scene did have fire on the outside of the exterior here at the main entrance of city hall,” said Chief Litte

City officials say restoration and replacement efforts will cost “tens of thousands” of dollars.

Mayor Danene Sorace said city hall re-opened for staff and the public at noon after it was deemed safe to be inside.

“We are here to serve the public and this is interfering with our ability to do our jobs and I take that very seriously,” said Sorace.

She also said there was a “difficult” city council meeting Tuesday night, but says it’s way too early to determine if it’s connected to the suspected arson.

Sorace said she is taking this incident, personally.

“If the perpetrator of this incident believes that that is going to alter my course in any way or what we do here as a city, they are decidedly wrong. This has affirmed the depth of my resolve to do the right thing, to stand for the residents throughout the city of Lancaster and their safety and well-being. We will not be bullied. We will not be intimidated,” said Sorace.

Members of the Lancaster City Council issued a statement, saying in part: “…This was an attack on the public order, the institutions of our City, the people who keep it running, and the place where they work…We are sad and we are angry about the reckless actions taken this morning. We await the results of the investigation. We will have more to say when those results come, but more than any of that we are grateful to the City employees who showed up and continue to show up everyday.”

This is an ongoing investigation, including a review of surveillance footage around city hall.

Anyone with any knowledge of this incident is encouraged to call police.

Lancaster City/County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest/conviction.

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