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Officials Investigating a Series of Fires In Md.

4:19 PM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Series of Suspicious Fires in Laurel, Md.
Fire officials released a map of the suspicious fires in Laurel, Md.

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA9) -- Fire Investigators say an arsonist may not be sticking to playgrounds in Laurel anymore. New developments in the investigation say the culprit could be responsible for more than half a dozen fires.

Chief Marc Bashoor says it's disturbing new information because it means the behavoir is escalating. All 7 of the fires that may be connected happened in a short time frame. They happened within three weeks in March and within a few miles of each other, with the exception of one.

Fire investigators are desperately looking for the public's help.

Nadege Raphael takes her daycare children across the street to the park every day, but at Discovery Community Park there's only half the fun.

It was torched in early March.

Raphael, "it's upsetting, the children have had nightmares about the parks and asking if their house is next, that was a little sad."

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor, Prince George's County Fire, "we must stop this evil before tragedy strikes in unspeakable ways."

The devilish act, says Chief Marc Bashoor in a press conference Thursday, is connected to another close by playground at Emancipation Community Park.

"we believe these two are related."

Fire investigators say the people responsible have gone beyond playgrounds but commercial buildings, including the Laurel Fuel Oil and Heating.
Fire lit up the night.

Twenty firefighters escaped within seconds of the building collapsing.

Bashoor, Prince George's Co. Fire "now we're dealing with the heinous crime of cowardly acts that needlessly put people's lives at risk and in harms way. Crimes of arson in occupied buildings are our worst nightmare. It's clear these cowards are not afraid to take this step."

There are stepped up patrols around the city and on playgrounds, a tender hand is needed. An innocent place now charred into the children's memories.
The city's residents, police chief, mayor and fire chief say the arson fires have affected the children who come and play at these popular playgrounds and they've affected the community.

There is a heightened sense of awareness.

The city is desperately looking for answers. They say no detail is too small.
The reward is up to $10,000. Damage is estimated at more than $600K
Call: 301.772.7766.

Incidents:
Bottom Dollar (outside)
12600 BLK Laurel Bowie Rd.
1/10/2013

Discovery Community Park (playground)
Harrison Dr. & Green Hill Ave.
3/3/2013

Laurel Fuel Oil & Heating
101 Main St.
3/6/2013

Emancipation Community Park (playground) 8th St. & West St.
3/11/2013

Office Building (outside)
14300 BLK Laurel Bowie Rd.
3/20/2013

Granville Gude Park (outside)
8300 Mulberry St.
3/22/2013

Empire Buffet
14600 Laurel Pl.
3/23/2013


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