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News Maryland Harford County Bel Air

Man arrested in connection with brush fires set in Abingdon

Deputy state fire marshals have charged a Perry Hall man with two counts of malicious burning after two separate brush fires were discovered late Monday night and early Tuesday in the Abingdon area.

The first fire occurred at 11:32 p.m. after a passerby reported observing a fire the Route 24 and I-95 interchange in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway sign on Route 24, according to a news release from the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office, which said the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company responded and quickly put out the fire. Damage to shrubbery and landscaping material was estimated at $200.

During the course of the investigation of the Route 24 fire, another fire was reported in the yard of a home in the 3300 Emmorton Road at 12:20 a.m. Tuesday, after another passerby observed the fire and alerted the homeowner. The homeowner extinguished the fire but not before it caused in approximately $50 in damage.

"We do believe they are related because of the close proximity and the close time frame," Deputy State Fire Marshal Mark A. Bilger said Tuesday afternoon, while the investigation was still in progress.

Deputy state fire marshals say that John Paul Akin, 22, of the first block of Ripplebrook Way in Perry Hall, allegedly doused the area near the interstate exit ramp with gasoline and intentionally set the Route 24 fire after leaving his job at the Waffle House on Edgewood Road.

Akin later walked to the area of Emmorton Road and allegedly set a small fire using newspaper in the front yard of the home, according to the Fire Marshal's Office, which also said no connection has been established between Akin and the homeowner and it is believed the incendiary fire was a random act.

According to the Fire Marshal's Office, Akin admitted to investigators he started the fires because of personal issues and was angry.

Fire marshals were assisted by troopers from the Maryland State Police Bel Air Barrack and deputies from the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

Akin was served with a criminal summons at his home and charged with two counts of second degree malicious burning, according to the Fire Marshal's Office. A trial date of Jan. 23, 2013 has been scheduled in Harford County District Court.

If convicted of all offenses, Akin could receive up to 3 years imprisonment and/or $1,000 in fines, according to the Fire Marshal's Office news release.

Aberdeen, Havre de Grace fires

Fire marshals are also investigating two unrelated fires in Harford County Saturday.

A 2006 Hyundai in the 1400 block of Cranberry Road in Aberdeen was set on fire at about 12:07 a.m.

No one was injured and damage to the car, owned by Leanne McClain, was estimated at $1,500, according to the Fire Marshal's Office.

Six firefighters from the Aberdeen Fire Department responded and put out the fire in five minutes.

Around 10:34 a.m., someone lit an "ignitable liquid" in a driveway of a home in the 200 block of Quaker Bottom Road near Havre de Grace owned by Jane Grigoleit, causing an estimated $1,000 in damage, according to a fire investigators.

Fire departments did not respond to the incident, according to a notice of investigation from the Fire Marshal's Office.

Anyone with information about those fires is asked to contact the State Fire Marshal's Office at 410-836-4844.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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