MCFRS News Release

Three Arrested in Connection with High School Arson

Fire and Explosive Investigators from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service have arrested three individuals, one adult and two juveniles, in connection with a classroom fire that occurred at Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland. Shortly before midnight on April 8th, 2011 units were dispatched for an automatic fire alarm at the school. When crews arrived, the sprinkler system had activated and contained the fire. Firefighters extinguished the remainder of the fire and determined that an ignitable liquid had been used to set a fire in a classroom in the rear of the school building. The suspects have also been charged in two separate arson fires that occurred at the White Flint Neighborhood Park on March 20th and April 2, 2011.

Wyatt Randall Peter Dentel, 19, has been charged with second-degree arson, first-degree malicious burning and malicious destruction of property in the park playground fires. He has been charged with accessory to arson in the school fire and is being held at the Montgomery County Detention Center. Two seventeen-year-old Whitman students have been charged with multiple counts of second-degree arson, first-degree burning and malicious destruction of property for their involvement in the fires at Whitman High School and at the White Flint Neighborhood Park. 

The arrests close three recent arson fires. The most recent one at Whitman High School and two others at the White Flint Neighborhood Park. The fires at the park destroyed two large playground structures causing damage in excess of $50,000. Damage from the fire at Whitman High School is also estimated at approximately $50,000.

Arson Suspect