MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
At about 7:30 am, Friday, April 26, firefighters and paramedics were alerted to a house fire with the dispatcher providing additional information that the County Police were on the scene dealing with a disorderly person. Police had been dispatched and arrived at the location after being dispatched for a domestic situation.
Police officers arrived to find that an 18-year-old male was involved in a domestic with other family members at his mother’s house. It is alleged that he physically removed his grandfather from the house, re-entered and intentionally set fire to the home’s interior and remained inside. Arriving police officers notified their dispatcher to alert the Fire Department and proceeded to use fire extinguishers from their cruisers in an attempt to knock down the fire located just inside a 1st floor window. The fire continued to grow in intensity and the officers were forced back from the intense heat and thick smoke now consuming that portion of the house. The teen appeared in a second floor window and with the heat and smoke surrounding him; he retreated to the roof just above where the fire was located. At some point the teen dispensed an unknown type of product down onto the police officers trying to coax him down. Fearing the product may be flammable the officers retreated a safe distance from the fire all the while continuing to try to talk the teen down off of the roof which was now on fire.
Firefighters from Oxon Hill arrived at 5609 Woodland Drive in the Forest Heights community to find the 2-story home with heavy fire and smoke showing from the first floor. The crews witnessed numerous police officers on the scene and a subject on the roof. Crews prepared themselves to advance hose lines into the house as the teen on the roof, now nearly invisible from the thick smoke, jumped to the ground and was immediately taken into custody.
After the scene appeared safe with the subject in custody, firefighters entered the structure and extinguished the fire within 15 to 20 minutes.
The male was transported to a hospital by paramedics for a mental and physical evaluation of any possible injuries and other medical conditions. No other civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.
Prince George’s County Fire Investigators are leading the investigation into this incident. The cause of the fire is incendiary with fire loss estimated at $80,000. An adult female, the teen’s mother, will be displaced and assisted by the County Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross.
Fire Investigators stated that charges against the 18-year-old male include 1st Degree Arson, 1st Degree Malicious Burning, 1st Degree Destruction of Property and 10 counts of 1st Degree Assault on a Police Officer. The Fire/EMS Department is not releasing the teens name because he was treated and transported and is protected by HIPAA and patient privacy laws.
The following video shows the burning home with the teen walking on the roof just prior to him jumping off and taken into custody. It has been edited by the Fire/EMS Department to link 2 cell phone video clips together and to remove audio. The cell phone video was obtained from public safety personnel documenting the unfolding scene.