Pair of Fires Expand Laurel Arson Investigation to 9

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Emancipation Park in Laurel. (Credit: City of Laurel)

Emancipation Park in Laurel. (Credit: City of Laurel)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — A pair of fires last week in Laurel have been ruled arsons, fire officials said Monday.

The fires, set Thursday at a city playground and Friday at a vacant restaurant, are believed to be tied to a string of fires in the city dating back to March, Prince George’s County fire investigators said.

Firefighters responded at about 3:35 p.m. Thursday, May 30, to a fire at a playground in the 141000 block of Bowsprit Lane. Fire officials estimate the damage loss at about $1,000.

Less than 12 hours later, just after midnight Friday, May 31, firefighters were called to the former Bay N’ Surf Restaurant in the 14400 block of Baltimore Avenue for a fire in an outdoor closet. Officials said the restaurant sustained serious damage from a fire in February 2007 and has been closed and vacant since.

Investigators said the two fires are similar to at least seven other fires in the city, expanding the investigation to nine incidents.

Three of the seven other fires still under investigation were at city playgrounds. Discovery Community Park went up in flames in March and suffered $100,000 in damage, and Emancipation Park and Granville Gude Park also were set on fire. Discovery Community Park was set to reopen Monday night.

The city of Laurel is offering a reward up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever may be responsible for these arsons. Citizens can call the Laurel Police Department’s Arson Tip Line at 301-77-ARSON.

WNEW’s George Mesthos contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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