What to Know
- Police said one of their helicopters was flying to assist firefighters when a drone came into its direct flight path.
- More than 200 firefighters worked for hours to contain the massive blaze at a College Park apartment building.
A Maryland man is accused of flying a drone in restricted airspace near the 5-alarm apartment building fire Monday in College Park, nearly crashing the drone into a police helicopter.
Trevon Miller, 24 of Baltimore Avenue in College Park, was arrested by Prince George's County Police after the incident.
Police said one of their helicopters was flying to assist firefighters as they worked to extinguish the massive fire at Fuse 47, an apartment building under construction on Berwyn House Road in College Park, when a drone went into its direct flight path about 12:30 p.m.
The helicopter's pilot had to perform "evasive maneuvers" to avoid a crash with the drone, police said.
Authorities said they identified Miller as the suspect. He was charged with interfering with police and fire response, as well as reckless endangerment.
Police distributed Miller's mugshot, in which he is smiling, and a photo of a white drone and a smartphone.
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Police said they will consult with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to determine if there will be any additional charges against Miller.
The national capital region is considered restricted airspace, and it is illegal to fly a drone within 5 miles of an airport, police said.
Prince George's County Police said they encourage all drone hobbyists to be sure they are in compliance with all FAA laws when operating drones.
The massive fire broke out Monday morning on the fifth floor of Fuse 47 and quickly spread to the sixth floor. More than 200 firefighters worked for hours to contain the blaze.
The University of Maryland, located nearby, closed at 1 p.m. Monday due to poor air quality from the smoke, President Wallace Loh tweeted.
Sections of Baltimore Avenue were closed for a large part of the day.