Prince George's County officials arrested two men accused of intentionally lighting an abandoned house on fire last month.
Francis Ortiz-Oro, 20, of New Carrollton, and Giancarlo Reyes, 19, a D.C. resident who previously applied to be a volunteer firefighter in Prince George's County, are charged with 1st and 2nd-degree arson in connection with the Jan. 20 blaze in Lanham, Maryland.
Before the blaze, neighbors told investigators that they saw two males drive to the neighborhood and walk into the house through a rear door, the Prince George's County Fire Department says.
Witnesses reported seeing smoke rising from the house as Ortiz-Oro and Reyes got back into a car and drove away, firefighters said.
Reyes allegedly returned to the scene of the crime and walked up to the house, possibly to make sure the fire was growing. Reyes then drove away again, firefighters said.
Just minutes later a neighbor saw flames and called 911.
Firefighters arrived on the 9500 block of Wellington about 1:50 a.m. and found the kitchen area burning. No one was injured, but there was about $50,000 in damage, firefighters say.
The Fire Marshal's office investigated and it was determined the fire was set intentionally.
Reyes was later arrested without incident, firefighters said. He had previously applied to volunteer with the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department in January 2019, but was rejected after a background check, firefighters said. Reyes appealed the decision and was denied again in May.
Despite the rejection, he continued to help out at the station.
Reyes' mother said people at the station told her son to start the fire because they were bored and wanted adrenaline.
He's being held in a jail in Upper Marlboro on charges of 1st and 2nd-degree arson, firefighters say.
Ortiz-Oro was also arrested without incident. He's charged with arson and malicious destruction of property, firefighters say. He has no ties to the fire department, firefighters say.
Ortiz-Oro appeared in court Monday and was ordered held without bond.
Reyes appeared for his bond hearing Tuesday, but it was postponed to Feb. 28.
Fire officials continue to investigate. Anyone with information is asked to call 301-77-ARSON or email 77Arson@co.pg.md.us.