Man Admits Arson In Philly Record Studio Fire

A man has admitted setting fire to the offices of Philadelphia International Records, though his attorney says he was too drunk to remember doing it.

Christopher Cimini pleaded guilty Tuesday to arson and related charges.

The record label was home to Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls and The O’Jays. Owners Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, who helped popularize Philadelphia soul in the 1960s and ’70s, lost much of their memorabilia in the fire.

Photo: AP Photo
Leon Huff, second left, inspects Philadelphia International Records in the aftermath of the fire.

Investigators have said Cimini was drunk and likely thought he was somewhere else when he broke into, vandalized and set a fire in the downtown building Feb. 21.

Defense lawyer Gina Capuano said Tuesday that Cimini’s blood-alcohol content was four times the legal limit for driving. Sentencing is Sept. 10.