Sep. 12—An 11-year-old boy was charged with first-degree arson in connection with a Sept. 3 fire that caused $2.5 million in damage to the Dollar General store in Hampstead, the Office of the State Fire Marshal said Monday
State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci said in a news release that the boy was identified last weekend during an investigation by the Office of the State Fire Marshal, Hampstead Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. His name will not be released because of his age.
The boy was released to his parent’s custody and charges will be referred to the Department of Juvenile Services, Geraci stated.
“I would again like to thank the residents of Carroll County for their support since this devastating fire,” Geraci said in the news release.
Just after 5 p.m., on Sept. 3, the Hampstead Volunteer Fire Company and the Hampstead Police Department responded to the Dollar General, 834 S. Main St., Hampstead, for a reported building fire. According to a news release, firefighters were on the scene within minutes and upgraded the fire to two alarms, and as a result firefighters from Carroll, Baltimore and Adams counties also responded. It took more than 100 firefighters more than an hour to bring the fire under control; no injuries were reported, according to the news release.
The fire marshal and police department released security camera photos from the store on Sept. 4 of two individuals who they said they believed may be a mother and son and asked the community for help identifying them.
According to the news release, “juvenile fire-setting is a serious issue contributing to dozens of fires yearly in Maryland. About half of these fires are started using smoking materials, such as matches and lighters.”
Gerci urged parents and caregivers to keep these items away from children and explain the dangers of fire.
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