By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jan 29, 2010 at 3:29 PM
Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Milwaukee Police and Fire Departments and the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) announced today that ATF is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the Jan. 19 arson fire that destroyed several North Avenue businesses including Pizza Man, Cush Lounge, Grecian Delight, Black and White Café and several upstairs apartments.

More than 150 Milwaukee Fire Department firefighters responded to the early morning fire at the intersection of North and Oakland Avenues that resulted in an estimated loss of $3 million.

Investigators are seeking the public's help in solving this crime and are hopeful that the reward will provide additional leads in this investigation.

"Arson is a crime of violence," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Bernard J. Zapor stated, "This incident has also caused an economic hardship for the community."

"We have had strong cooperation from our law enforcement partners to investigate the Pizza Man fire. Now we need the public's cooperation to provide information on who is responsible for setting it," said Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett released a statement Friday afternoon calling the act "very disturbing."

"This irresponsible and despicable act put our fire fighting personnel, paramedics and residents of the building at serious risk of injury or death," Barrett said. "I thank the men and women from local, state and federal agencies that were involved in determining the cause of the fire and for their collaborative efforts in the ongoing investigation. "

Officials have asked than anyone with information about the arson should call the anonymous toll free Wisconsin Arson hotline at (800) 362-3005.