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Laurel, County Officials to Address Recent String of Fires

Officials are set to appear at a joint press conference Thursday.

Mayor Craig Moe, Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor, and other local officials are set to hold a press conference Thursday to discuss the recent string of fires across the Laurel area.

The PGFD and Laurel Police Department have been conducting a joint investigation into the blazes, several of which occurred on city playgrounds.

"These incidents include a number of arson fires along with two fires of an undetermined nature that remains under investigation and are considered 'incidents of interest,'" the PGFD said in a statement.

On March 11, flames badly damaged a set of playground equipment at Emancipation Community Park in Laurel. County fire officials 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 were not released, are facing charges in connection with the incident.

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 has offered 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. Officials are also urging residents who spot any suspicious activity to immediately call 911.

Thursday's press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Laurel Police Department (811 5th St. Laurel).

Lead investigators from each agency involved in the probe are set to brief members of the press and detail "what citizens can do to help find who is responsible."

Deputy PGFD Chief Scott Hoglander and Laurel Police Chief Rich McLaughlin will also be in attendance.

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