MCFRS News Release

Kensington and Silver Spring Fires Under Investigation

Area fires may be related – Information being sought by Fire Investigators

Between 11:30 p.m. and 12 midnite on Monday, September 8, 2008 units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service were dispatched for an automatic fire alarm at Woodlin Elementary School, located in the 2100 block of Luzerne Avenue, in the Montgomery Hills neighborhood of Silver Spring.

Upon arrival, firefighters encountered several fires involving a dumpster as well as the covered wooden walkway leading from the main school building and a portable classroom structure on the west side of the school. The fires were quickly extinguished. There were no injuries.

Fire and Explosive Investigators were called to the scene. A short time later as Fire and Explosive Investigators approached the scene, they observed a person of interest leaving the area of the fire scene who matched a description to another recent incident being investigated in the nearby Kensington area.

This person of interest was stopped and interviewed. Shortly thereafter and in the meantime the two most recent fires at the Woodlin Elementary School were determined to be incendiary (arson). Damage to the walkway and portable classroom is estimated to be $70,000.  Students using this classroom for instruction will be displaced.

Several days ago, on September 6, 2008 at around 5 a.m. units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service were dispatched for an auto fire in the 3200 block of Fayette Road, in the Homewood neighborhood of Kensington.

In the early morning of September 4, 2008 around 6 a.m. units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to a dumpster fire at the Oakland Terrace Elementary School, in the 2800 block of Plyers Mill Road, in Kensington. While at the scene evidence of an attempt to burn a vehicle was also observed. Earlier that morning, around 5 a.m. several attempts to burn vehicles were discovered not far away in the 10200 block of Menlo Avenue, off of Capital View Avenue.

In addition, while on the scene of the dumpster fire at the Oakland Terrace Elementary School on September 4, firefighters were made aware of at least two more attempts to burn vehicles in the 2800 block of Emmit Road near the Oakland Terrace school grounds. Upon further examination Montgomery County Fire and Explosive Investigators found two or three other vehicles displaying similar burn or attempt to burn characteristics.

In the previous week Fire and Explosive Investigators are looking to see if several other attempts to burn vehicles on Brunswick Avenue, in Forest Glen are related.  The investigation is continuing.  Anyone with information about any of these incidents or to report another attempt to burn a vehicle is asked to contact the Montgomery County Arson Tipline at 240.777.2263.