Fires at Prince George's student-built houses considered suspicious

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Local,Maryland,Crime,Naomi Jagoda,Prince Georges County

Two fires at neighboring student-built houses in Clinton may have been intentionally set, officials said.

About 1:30 a.m. Monday, firefighters were called to a fire at an under-construction house located at 8204 Student Drive.

Dry wall had not yet been installed in the home yet, so there was a lot of exposed lumber. As a result, the structure burned quickly and intensely and collapsed into the basement, Prince George's County Fire/EMS spokesman Mark Brady said. Fire loss is estimated at $150,000.

There were six propane cylinders on the site, which were being used to ensure that drywall would dry when it is installed. Two of the tanks exploded and flew, with one of the tanks hitting a car and the other hitting a house across the street. Neither the car nor the house caught fire, but they both sustained damage, Brady said.

On New Year's Day, there was a fire at a house next door to the one that burned Monday morning. Firefighters went to a fire at a vacant house at 8202 Student Drive at about 6:15 p.m. on Jan. 1 and completely extinguished the blaze there after about an hour. Fire loss in that incident is estimated at $250,000.

Both of the structures that burned were built by students in a Prince George's County Public Schools program, Brady said. Investigators have determined that both fires are suspicious, but they were not saying Monday afternoon that the two fires are related.

Anyone with information can call 301-77-ARSON.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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Naomi Jagoda

Staff reporter
The Washington Examiner