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ATF: Fire Destroying Concord Apartments Under Construction Was Arson

CONCORD (CBS SF) – A fire that burned down an apartment complex under construction in Concord last month has been determined by federal investigators to be arson and surveillance videos were released of the suspect.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made the determination about the three-alarm fire that sparked around 1 a.m. on April 24, causing an estimated $55 million in damage to the 180-unit complex planned along Concord Boulevard near Galindo Street.

Surveillance video shows a suspect climbing a fence to enter the structure just before the fire started, then climbing back over afterward and running away. ATF officials are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Concord Apartment Fire Suspect
Surveillance footage of a man suspected of starting a massive apartment fire in Concord on April 24, 2018. (CBS)

The structure that burned was the second phase of the Renaissance Square apartments, and the fire caused the evacuation of about 250 people living in the adjacent apartments that made up the first phase of the project.

The building that burned was roughly 60 percent completed with exposed timber framing and no sheetrock to prevent the spread of the blaze, fire officials said.

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District requested ATF assistance and a team of veteran special agents responded, including engineers, chemists, forensic mappers, accelerant detection canine teams and other specialized investigators, according to the federal agency.

"After examining all the evidence, ATF has determined the cause of the April 24th fire to be incendiary, meaning that it was intentionally set and is considered an act of arson," ATF San Francisco Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder said in a statement.

Concord Apartment Fire
Scene of a fire at an apartment building under construction in Concord on April 24, 2018. (CBS)

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the ATF at (888) ATF-FIRE, by visiting or using the mobile "reportit" app, according to the agency.

The case was similar to other fires at apartment buildings under construction in Oakland and Emeryville in 2016 and 2017. The ATF last July offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in those fires.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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