The Prince George’s County officials are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for a string of arson fires in the Laurel area.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been a total of nine fires in Laurel at various community parks and businesses prompting an investigation by the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, the Laurel Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Prince George’s County police.
“Members of the community have been providing great information to fire investigators, which they have been following up on,” Prince George’s Fire Department spokesman Mark E. Brady told the AFRO.
He said the fire department has yet to identify a suspect or motive in the arson fires, but investigators are actively encouraging residents to send in videos, photos and all other tips to their arson hotline.
“It’s hard to say what motivates an arsonist,” Brady said.
One of the parks which was set ablaze was Discovery Community Park. The March 3 fire caused more than $100,000 in damage to the facility, fire officials said. Just one month after the fire, on June 3, local residents celebrated the reopening of the park, which was equipped with new playground equipment.
On March 11, a second fire was started at Emancipation Community Park, located at 8th and West streets, causing more than $100,000 in damage officials said.
The park will not be rebuilt until work is completed on an adjacent county library.
Other buildings impacted by the fires include Bottom Dollar Store on Route 197, Laurel Fuel Oil on Main Street and Empire Buffet on Laurel Place, authorities said.