MCFRS News Release

Arson Arrest in Silver Spring

Local Man Responsible for Several Recent Fires

Fire and Explosive Investigators from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service have arrested and charged a Silver Spring man for his involvement in several fires that have occurred in the 700 block of Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring that apparently began in June and July this summer. Fire activity attributed to the suspect had increased the past few weeks.

Nahom Abay, age 20, of the 700 block of Sligo Avenue was arrested and charged by Montgomery County Fire and Explosive Investigators on Sunday evening, October 8, 2006. A tip from the community led to his arrest. He was apprehended and detained by Montgomery County Police Patrol officers near his residence until the arrival of Fire and Explosive Investigators. He is being held in the Montgomery County Detention Center on a ‘No Bond Status’.

He was charged with one (1) count of First Degree arson, one (1) count First Degree Malicious Burning, nine (9) counts Arson to Trash Container, and five (5) counts Reckless Endangerment.

An investigation began after several small, but potentially dangerous, nuisance fires occurred in and around apartment buildings in the 700 block of Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring in early October. It was discovered that other fires had occurred as far back as June and July, some of which went unreported. Fire and Explosive Investigators identified a person of interest, Mr. Abay. Earlier this weekend he had alluded capture, but on Sunday, October 8, 2006 a tip from a local resident indicated that he was in the area. A short time later he was apprehended without incident.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Tom Carr says,” The citizen providing the suspect’s whereabouts and the collective work of this team of investigators and patrol officers is to be commended. Not only is the responsible person being held accountable for his actions, his detention also means the community is safer.” Chief Carr adds “Each year, arson causes millions of dollars in losses to individuals, insurers, and the local government. These losses affect everyone. The worst consequences, however, are not financial, but personal. These fires have affected the entire community. Arson can also be dangerous crime to victims, to the fire setter, to fire fighters and especially to the community. ”

There were about 250 arsons reported in 2005. Dozens of persons, most of whom were juveniles, were arrested by Fire and Explosive Investigators from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service. The conviction rate for Montgomery County is above the national average for crimes of this nature.

Arson is one the leading causes of property loss due to fire in Montgomery County, Maryland and in the United States. Nationally, one-fourth of all fires are arson and over one-half of them are set by juveniles. Fire and Explosive Investigators are asking anyone with information about arson to contact the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service ARSON Tip Line at 240-777-2263.