Rockville Police are increasing patrols in East Rockville in response to two small fires set near Croydon Park Wednesday night.
The fires started late in the evening, one at the corner of Grandin Avenue and Reading Terrace and another in the 300 block of Highland Avenue, according to an alert from the East Rockville Civic Association. Whoever set them appears to have used newspapers and phone books that people had left in yards and driveways, the alert said.
Major Bob Rappoport of the Rockville City Police said someone set several small fires around Croydon Park at various times last year, and Wednesday’s fires were similar.
Luckily, the fires were small and burned out on their own, Rappoport said, but even small fires could get out of control, especially in dry or windy conditions.
“When you’re setting fires, there’s always a potential for it to escalate,” he said.
In addition to the increased patrols, police are encouraging neighbors to report suspicious activity.
Rappoport said that in the past, residents have reported hearing loud voices near the park or seeing some incidents of vandalism, such as flowers being pulled up, around the same time as the fires. Neighbors can watch for disturbances or people that seem out of place, especially groups of people walking down the street late at night, he said, and report concerns to police.
“What we’re looking for is neighbors to be on the lookout and report suspicious situations,” Rappoport said.
The Montgomery County fire marshal’s office investigates arson in Rockville, he said.
The Rockville City Police Department’s non emergency line is 240-314-8900. In case of an emergency, call 911.