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Ex-Home Depot worker charged in fires at stores

A former Home Depot employee remained in custody yesterday on first-degree arson charges in connection with fires set at three stores in Harford County and New Castle County, Del.

Derek Wesley Hall, 33, of the first block of River Mist Drive in Elkton, is charged in a string of three fires that happened between Thursday and Sunday at Home Depot stores in Edgewood, Bel Air and Christiana, Del., said Maryland Deputy State Fire Marshal Joseph Zurolo.

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Fire officials are also investigating whether Hall could be connected to four Home Depot fires in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties since May, one of which caused $100,000 in damage at a Glen Burnie store Aug. 13.

Zurolo said Hall had worked for Home Depot as a loss prevention manager until March, when he was dismissed.

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Don Harrison, a Home Depot spokesman, confirmed yesterday that Hall was let go from a job in March and had worked in the field rather than the headquarters office. He declined to comment further.

Hall is being held in the Cecil County Detention Center, awaiting extradition to Delaware, Zurolo said.

The Harford fires were set Thursday at the Home Depot in the 2700 block of Pulaski Highway in Edgewood and Sunday at the Home Depot at 655 Market Place in Bel Air, Zurolo said. The fires began inside the buildings and store employees were able to put them out with extinguishers before firefighters arrived, he said. Damages are estimated at $2,000 total.

The stores were evacuated, and no workers or customers were injured, Zurolo said.

Hall surrendered about 7 a.m. Monday at the Maryland State Police barracks in North East, Zurolo said, who added that Hall became a suspect after store surveillance tapes were reviewed at both scenes.


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