The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office issued a second set of surveillance camera still photographs and video excerpts Tuesday of a male person of interest being sought in connection with two fires set inside the Denny's restaurant in Abingdon, the second which gutted the building on Aug. 3.
A month after the second fire did an estimated $500,000 in damages to the restaurant, deputy state fire marshals are once again asking the public's help in providing information about the fire or the suspected person of interest.
An initial set of still photographs from the surveillance camera was made public just days after the fire, following a determination that it was deliberately set. In mid-August, the fire marshal's office said an earlier fire, which did minor damage and was not initially reported by the restaurant management, appeared to have been the work of the same individual.
The video excerpts of the person of interest can be viewed above.
According to the fire marshal's office, the first fire at about 8:45 a.m. on July 4, occurred inside the trash can in the men's restroom of the restaurant, which is in the 1800 block of Edgewood Road, just south of the I-95/Route 24 interchange. Damages were minimal and contained to the trash can. It was initially believed by management to be accidental and fire service response was not requested, the fire marshal's office said.
The second fire at 10:20 a.m. on Aug. 3rd involved the entire structure. Investigators determined the fire originated inside the men's restroom before spreading upward and through the roof. The structure received extensive damage, resulting in about $500,000 in damages. The restaurant was occupied by several staff and customers during both incidents. No injuries, however, were reported.
Video surveillance revealed the same person of interest was observed entering and leaving the area of the men's room at the time of each fire, the fire marshal's office said.
The unidentified person of interest is a white male, approximately six feet tall with light or grayish colored hair. He wore a dark colored ball cap both times he was observed by video surveillance.
In the July 4 video, he was wearing a yellow colored shirt and light colored khaki style shorts. In the Aug. 3 video, he was wearing an orange colored shirt, dark colored shorts and sunglasses, the fire marshal's office said, adding that it is believed he left the parking lot in a dark colored two or four-door sedan.
Mutual Benefit Insurance Company is responsible for providing the reward for arrest and conviction of the suspect responsible for the fire, according to the fire marshal's office.
Anyone living in the community or anyone who was just passing through with, who has any information any information about the Denny's fires, is asked to contact the Northeast Regional Office of the State Fire Marshal in Bel Air at 410-836-4844 or the Arson Hotline at 1-800-492-7529.