Two fires in Laurel last week — at a playground and a closed Route 1 restaurant — are being investigated as arson and county fire investigators said they are similar to seven other fire arsons that have hit Laurel playgrounds and businesses this year.
Playground equipment in the 14100 block of Bowsprit Lane was set on fire Thursday, May 30 around 3:30 p.m., causing about $1,000 in damages, according to Prince George's County Fire/EMS spokesman Mark Brady.
Then on Friday, May 31, around 1:30 a.m., a fire was set in an exterior closet of the closed Bay 'n Surf Restaurant. Brady said there was no loss and no injuries in the restaurant fire.
The two fires join seven recent incidents in Laurel that are being investigated as fire arson. These include playground fires at Discovery Community Park on March 3 and Emancipation Community Park on March 11; a fire outside Bottom Dollar Food in South Laurel on Jan. 10; a fire in a parking bay at Laurel Fuel Oil on March 6; a fire set behind an office building on Laurel Bowie Road on March 20; a mulch fire near the outdoor stage at Granville Gude Park on March 22; and a fire at the Empire Buffet restaurant on March 23.
The city and fire investigators are offering a $10,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction in these fires.
Two juveniles were arrested by Laurel Police and charged with arson by county fire investigators in connection with a fire on playground equipment at Granville Gude Park March 8.
According to Brady, the investigation into the nine fire arsons in Laurel is a joint effort of several agencies, including Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department; Laurel Police; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Prince George's County Police.
To anonymously leave a tip about the arson incidents, contact the Laurel Police Department's tip line at 301-498-7465 or the Prince George's County fire tip line at 301-77-ARSON.