Officials Seek Tips, Urge Vigilance After Laurel Playground Fires
Three local playgrounds have been damaged or destroyed by flames in the past ten days.
Laurel police and Prince George's County fire officials are urging area residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity following a string of destructive playground fires.
On Monday afternoon, flames badly damaged a set of playground equipment at Emancipation Community Park in Laurel. County fire officials have determined that the blaze, which caused an estimated $100,000 in damage, was the result of arson.
That fire came three days after a pair of juveniles were arrested for allegedly burning part of a playground at Laurel's Granville Gude Park. The two suspects, whose names have not been released, are facing charges in connection with Friday's incident. An investigation by fire officials remains open.
And on March 3, a playground at Discovery Community Park in Laurel was effectively destroyed by a large fire. Investigators believe this fire, too, was "incendiary" or "set."
The City of Laurel is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest in connection with the fires. Tipsters can contact the Laurel Police Department at 301-498-7645.
Police and fire officials are also urging residents who spot any suspicious activity to immediately call 911.
"You should attempt to document descriptions of those involved including articles of clothing and vehicles," the PGFD wrote in a statement. "Tag numbers are particularly helpful."
"Never try to intervene in the suspicious activity other then calling 911," officials added, "Never put yourself into harm's way."
Tips can also be submitted to the PGFD's arson tip line at 301-77-ARSON.
Parents: Have the recent playground fires affected you directly? Where are you taking your children to play? Let us know in the comments section.