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New fire in Southwest Baltimore following arson arrests

Same building caught fire last week
Posted at 4:57 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 17:08:39-05

BALTIMORE — Nine days after a fire in a McHenry Street rowhouse, firefighters return to find it fully engulfed in flames.

"This morning, I was walking my son to school He goes to Southwest Baltimore Charter,” said Edward Bennett. “And we noticed that there were flames coming out of the side of the building over there."

While an investigation into the cause of the fire will take time, it comes on the heels of two arrests last week in a pair of arsons in an area where firefighters battled 17 separate fires last week---many of them lit in rapid succession.

While evidence has only tied each of the suspects to a single fire apiece thus far, Fire Chief Niles Ford says investigators are still trying to determine why they allegedly set them.

"We don't have a motive,” said Ford. “It's still under investigation. We're still evaluating even possible causes of it."

With 11 fires in one 24-hour period during a single day last week and six more by week's end, Ford says the investigation will take time.

"If we didn't have so many fires to investigate and try to figure out if they, in line, if they have linear responsibilities, we probably would have something by now, but we're trying to be as deliberate as possible in this process," said Ford.

But with a second fire now in one of the same buildings that burned last week, patience is running thin in the neighborhood.

"I heard that they had caught somebody, but it keeps happening so they either got the wrong person or something's going on," said Justin Burgess, as he stood outside the burned rowhouse.

And many fear it's only a matter of time until fire spreads from a targeted vacant home to one, which houses an unsuspecting family.

"You've got a lot of sick people in this world that would just like setting fires,” said Bennett. “You know what I mean? And watching their work. I wouldn't doubt the person was standing by watching it."