Ryan Lawrence Spann (Photo courtesy Maryland State Fire / May 20, 2013)

A Joppa man has been arrested in connection with an early-morning apartment fire at a building near The Festival at Bel Air shopping center, the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said.

Ryan Lawrence Spann, 28, of the 500 block of Erickson Court, was arrested after detectives said he set a fire inside a unit in the Calvert's Walk Apartments.

Charged with first-degree and second-degree arson, Spann was ordered held on $250,000 bail by District Court Judge Mimi Cooper on Monday. He was also ordered to have no unlawful contact with his girlfriend, who lives in the apartment Spann allegedly targeted.

The fire caused about a dozen residents to briefly evacuate early Sunday morning.


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No one was injured in the blaze in the 200 block of Foxhall Drive and it was contained within about 10 minutes, Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Foundation spokesman Rich Gardiner said.

At about 1 a.m., "units arrived to find fire in two bedrooms in a third floor apartment," Gardiner wrote on Facebook. "The sheriff's office had begun to awaken residents while other residents had self evacuated."

When Spann's girlfriend entered her apartment, she found smoke inside and heard the alarm, according to the State Fire Marshal's Office, which said in a news release that the woman had had an argument with Spann, after which she left. He then allegedly set the fires and fled the area, according to the news release.

A State Fire Marshal's accelerant detection canine team also responded to the scene. The Maryland State Police and Harford County Sheriff's Office assisted in the search for the suspect.

When firefighters responded, they found two fires had burned themselves out in the unit.

Damage to the apartment is estimated to be at least $10,000, according to investigators. The building is owned by UDR Management.

The fires were determined to be set by "ordinary household items," according to the Fire Marshal's Office.

Firefighters from Bel Air, Abingdon and Joppa-Magnolia volunteer fire companies responded with 30 to 40 total firefighters.

Only one apartment was damaged but about 12 units evacuated, Edward Hopkins, chief of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, said.

"Firefighters were able to get it knocked down before it got too far," Hopkins said.

Spann's girlfriend and her mother were in court in Bel Air for Monday's bail review, where public defender Bruce Andres said the girlfriend would be willing to supervise Spann.

Cooper asked her if she worked and wondered how the woman could supervise Spann while she was working.

Spann graduated from Joppatowne High School and works as a website administrator in Baltimore, Andres said.

As of late Monday afternoon, Spann continued to be held at the Harford County Detention Center.