Three more people, including at least one volunteer firefighter, were arrested yesterday in connection with the largest residential arson in Maryland history. Authorities would not immediately...
LA PLATA, Md. Three more people, including at least one volunteer firefighter, were arrested yesterday in connection with the largest residential arson in Maryland history.
Authorities would not immediately discuss a possible motive in the Dec. 6 fires at the upscale Hunters Brooke development, where many homes were under construction. The blazes caused $10 million in damage.
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The U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore identified the men as Patrick Stephen Walsh, 20, of Fort Washington; Jeremy Daniel Parady, 20, of Accokeek; and Michael McIntosh Everhart, 20, of Waldorf. Authorities said the men have been charged with arson and are scheduled to appear in federal court tomorrow.
Charges were filed earlier against Aaron Speed, 21, a security guard who told authorities he was upset by the way he had been treated by his employer.
The fires destroyed 10 houses and damaged 16 others. They broke out almost simultaneously over a 10-acre site, leading police to believe more than one person was involved.
One suspect, Parady, was listed on the Web site for the Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department as a “riding member.”
Wayne Jordan, president of the fire department, said a probationary member of the department was arrested and has been suspended, although he wouldn’t confirm it was Parady. Jordan declined to say whether the man was one of the firefighters who helped battle the blazes at the development. The department has about 50 active members.
The chief of the department, Jeff Cox, declined to comment.
Few details were known about the other suspects.
Speed, who worked at the development for Security Services of America, has told investigators he was upset his employer did not show enough sympathy after his infant son died this year, according to court documents.
Speed told investigators that his son, one of twins, died in April, when he was about 3 months old. His wife’s stepfather said the baby, Christian, died of intestinal complications.
Initially, there had been speculation the fires were set by environmental extremists because some environmental groups had complained the houses threatened a nearby bog. But no evidence has been found to support that theory, police said.
Security Services of America, based in North Carolina, has said only that it is cooperating with authorities.