Surveillance Video Catches Arsonist Setting Fire to Nonprofit's Ambulance

D.C. fire investigators are searching for an arsonist who was caught on camera lurking in Northeast Washington alley moments before an ambulance used by local nonprofit caught fire and exploded.

Surveillance video from a camera in an alley between K and Parker streets NE on Oct. 15 showed on a man walking back and forth with a bag in his hand. The video shows the man near some parked vehicles before he runs away.

A short time later, a small explosion can be seen on camera. Firefighters responded to the scene and were able to put out the flames. No one was injured.

D.C. battalion fire chief Tony Falwell noted the suspect's "unique walk" and said he hopes it will help identify the arsonist.

"We want the public to take a good look at this video and just notice the individual's walk and clothing. Maybe someone knows this individual by the way he walks," he said. "You can call the fire department and give us a tip. We need to get this person off the street."

The vehicle torched by the arsonist was a former ambulance used by local nonprofit BeatBox DC. The ambulance -- nicknamed "The BeatBox" -- was the organization's centerpiece, said founder Peter Luce. The mobile sound system was used to bring fun, music and art to children at school events and festivals for free.

Luce told News4 he was home when the vehicle went up in flames.

"It was completely engulfed by the time I got out there," Luce said. "It's kind of terrifying in a densely populated area to have people blowing things up in alleys."

If anyone has information that can help investigators, they can call 202-673-2776.

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