GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A fire at Tony’s Ice Cream in Gastonia was set deliberately early Thursday morning, according to the Gastonia Fire Department.

Investigators have released new surveillance video from the business and are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect.  

Below is the raw surveillance footage:

Gastonia Police said firefighters responded to the century-old ice cream parlor on East Franklin Blvd. around 5:45 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 4.

“Yeah, I was very surprised,” said Scott Martin. “Especially if it was deliberate.”

The Gastonia Fire Marshal’s Office conducted an origin and cause investigation and determined that the cause of the fire was ‘incendiary in nature’ and contacted Gastonia Police to begin a criminal investigation.

“They can’t burn down Tony’s , that just can’t happen,” said Dale Harrison.

During the investigation, detectives determined that the suspect broke a window to the business, threw a flammable accelerant inside the broken window, and fled the area. An employee of Tony’s Ice Cream who was working inside the business at the time of the arson was not injured, police said.

“Anybody that grew up in Gastonia, that ever leaves Gastonia, comes back to Tony’s when they come back,” said Martin.

This remains an active investigation. Anyone with information regarding this arson or this suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000. Callers may remain anonymous, police said.