MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, firstname.lastname@example.org
Two neighboring Clinton house fires occurring within a week of each other have been determined to be suspicious. A January 1, 2013, house fire at 8202 Student Drive was still under investigation when another fire occurred this morning at 8204 Student Drive.
On January 1, 2013, firefighters were dispatched at around 6:15 pm to a reported house fire at 8202 Student Drive. Firefighters arrived to a find a 2-story single family home with fire consuming the roof and portions of the second floor. The fire was extinguished without incident. No injuries were reported.
The house had been previously occupied but was currently vacant due to being a bank-owned property. Fire loss was estimated at $250,000 and the investigation was on-going.
At about 1:30 am, Monday, January 7, firefighters were again dispatched to Student Drive for a reported house fire. This time, firefighters arrived at 8204 Student Drive with a 2-story single family home, under construction, fully involved with fire. The construction was at a point where they were preparing to install dry wall. The exposed timber and lumber burned quickly and intense. The structure was consumed by the fire and eventually collapsed into the basement. The fire was extinguished quickly and without incident.
Propane cylinders were on site to be used when the dry wall was installed. Some of the cylinders exploded and became projectiles travelling nearly 50 yards to a neighbor’s house across the street. The cylinders damaged a car in the driveway and caused some cosmetic damage to the garage brick exterior. Fortunately no injuries were reported. Fire loss is estimated at $150,000.
Both of these homes were built by high school students from the Prince George’s County Public Schools. They have a program, in conjunction with the Foundation for Applied Construction Technology for Students (FACTS), which provides students an opportunity to build homes on Student Drive in Clinton. This is why the street is called “Student” Drive. Students build one house per year. Once completed, the houses are sold.
Prince George’s County Fire Investigators have labeled these fires as “suspicious” and are seeking information from the public. If anyone has information about these fires you are encouraged to call the Arson Tip Line at 301-77-ARSON (27766). Anonymous tips can be left. You may also Email a message to 77Arson@co.pg.md.us. The Prince George’s County Police Department is assisting Fire Investigators in following up on possible leads in this case. However, Fire/EMS Department Investigators are taking the lead in this investigation.
Residents in the Clinton neighborhood are also being asked to be extra vigilant during the evening and overnight. If any suspicious activity is seen residents should call 911 immediately. If possible and if it can be done safely, obtain a description of the person(s) that you believe are suspicious. Descriptive information about a vehicle including the tag number is particularly helpful.