A second fire at a Joppa automotive business in the two weeks has fire investigators asking for the public's help in identifying possible suspicious activities at the property prior to the fires.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal said it is seeking assistance in locating the person or persons responsible for an arson fire early Monday at the automotive shop operated by Troy Aull at 1311 Paul's Lane in Joppa, according to a news release issued Tuesday.
The latest fire occurred at 2 a.m. in the unsecured parking lot of the property. According to the Fire Marshal's Office, a 1997 Honda Civic and a 21-foot 1987 Sea Ray Seville boat were completely destroyed by fire.
Investigators have determined five additional vehicles had a liquid accelerant poured on them in an unsuccessful attempt to set them on fire, according to the Fire Marshal's Office's news release. The damage estimate for this incident is $25,000.
A previous fire occurred at approximately 12:45 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, inside a storage bay attached to the main building on the property. That fire caused an estimated loss of $400,000 to the structure and contents.
The Aug. 18 fire was contained in about 30 minutes by 25 firefighters from volunteer companies Joppa-Magnolia Abingdon, Bel Air, White Marsh and Kingsville and the Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire Department, according to a notice of investigation issued by the Fire Marshal's Office.
As of Tuesday, the cause of the earlier fire remains under investigation, the fire Marshal's Office said.
Investigators are asking the community to provide any possible details of suspicious activity at the property during the dates of the fires. Anyone having information is asked to contact the Elkton Office of the State fire Marshal at 410-996-2793 or to call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-492-7529.