LAUREL, Md. — As flames engulfed one car and then leapt to the next in the upscale Russett Green community of Laurel, Dale Perkins-Banks awoke to a strange sound just after four o’clock in the morning on Sunday.
“We were sleeping and we heard some popping sound going on and after awhile I’m thinking, ‘Who is shooting fireworks at this time in the morning?’” said Perkins-Banks.
By the time firefighters arrived, the garage had caught fire and flames moved into the attic, sending the six people inside the home on Moss Bank Drive scrambling to get out.
Few doubted that the fire was an accident.
“It had to be like some bad hombres honestly and I’m just shocked that this happened,” said Steve Otubanjo who lives just around the corner.
It didn’t take long for investigators to figure out there was nothing random or accidental about it.
“Fire investigators have determined the fire was an arson fire that began with one of the cars in the driveway,” said Capt. Russ Davies of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.
It is a point supported by camera footage still being collected in the area.
Perkins-Banks says one of his neighbors described a hooded man approaching one of the vehicles moments before the fire.
“The person that had gone to the car on the left looked like they lit something underneath the tire, came back over into the yard and didn’t leave until they made sure it did ignite,” said Perkins-Banks. “They walked back over to the car and saw where it had and then they drove off.”
If you have any information on this fire, you’re asked to call the Anne Arundel Fire Tips Line at 410-222-TIPS.