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Md. FF charged for several ‘intentionally set’ fires over several months

The former Reese Volunteer Fire Company firefighter faces several charges for setting fire to brush, grass and woodland


By Olivia Lloyd
The Charlotte Observer

CARROLL COUNTY, Md. — A volunteer firefighter is facing charges related to a string of “intentionally set” blazes in Maryland, officials said.

The 20-year-old was working for the Reese Volunteer Fire Company at the time of her Jan. 27 arrest in connection with a nearly 10-month investigation, the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal announced.

The Eldersburg woman faces three counts of second-degree malicious burning, calling in a false report of a fire, and intentionally setting fire to grass, brush and woodland, the state agency said in a Jan. 28 news release.

She’s been suspended from the volunteer firefighting agency pending the conclusion of the investigation.

In March 2023, the state said it began investigating a series of fires involving trees, foliage and leaves that had been intentionally set in Carroll County.

Fire officials reported similar incidents in May and June, and they also found a false 911 call in May regarding smoke from a fire.

Investigators connected the firefighter to that call, and she was suspended from the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department in August due to the investigation. She was working for that agency when she set the fires, state officials said.

After her suspension, she became a member of the Reese Volunteer Fire Company.

“Reese VFC conducts background checks on all employees and applicants,” the agency wrote on Facebook on Jan. 28 . “Being that this matter has come to light in the last 24 hours, it would not have shown up in a background check and RVFC was not aware of any reason to not accept this individual into membership at the time of application.”

McClatchy News reached out to the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department for comment on Jan. 29 and did not immediately hear back.

“I want to make clear that this one person’s alleged actions in no way reflect upon the thousands of dedicated career and volunteer firefighters who serve our communities — especially our volunteers who give of themselves and their time to serve Maryland,” State Fire Marshal Jason M. Mowbray said in the release.

The Baltimore Environmental Police assisted in the investigation.

Carroll County is about 40 miles northwest of Baltimore.

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