Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Former school, historic home go up in flames in south county

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On Tuesday in southern Prince George’s County, firefighters doused two fires in vacant buildings and have ruled the cause of one as arson.

The former site of the Henson Valley Montessori School, 7007 Allentown Road in Temple Hills, caught fire around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, county Fire⁄EMS spokesman Mark Brady said. The Montessori building was empty, as the school has relocated to a site in Upper Marlboro.

Witnesses of the fire told investigators two individuals were seen running from the building soon after the blaze started, Brady said.

The arson will not be added to the list of fires being investigated by the Accokeek Arson Investigation Group. This group is investigating a series of 15 arson fires since 2004 that have caused over $2 million in estimated fire losses in the Accokeek community.

‘‘Doesn’t fit any of the critical factors to be added to the list,” Brady said.

The second fire occurred just after 2 p.m. in an Upper Marlboro home under renovation. The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental and is attributed to a plumber’s torch that ignited combustible materials.

‘‘They were actually installing sprinkler systems to the home at the time the plumber’s torch caught the combustibles,” Brady said.

Damage to the home, which is located in the 4100 block of Ritchie-Marlboro Road, is estimated at $500,000. Part of the Marlboro Ridge housing development, the home was built in the 1800s and was undergoing renovations to serve as the landmark of the new housing complex being constructed in Upper Marlboro, Brady said.

No one was hurt in either incident.