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According to a news report this (Monday) evening, a Prince George’s County (MD) Fire/EMS spokesman has confirmed fire investigators served a search warrant at West Lanham Hills VFD’s Station 28. This occurred before the arrest of two men for arson was announced Saturday. WRC-TV/NBC4 reporter Tracee Wilkins cites multiple sources as telling her information found at the firehouse has fire investigators taking another look at fires in the area.
Neither of the two men arrested is a firefighter, but one of those men, Giancarlo Reyes, failed a PGFD background check when he applied to be a member of West Lanham a year ago. The mother of Reyes tells WRC-TV/NBC4 her son would still hang out at Station 28 even though his application was denied. She also showed reporters a picture she says shows her son on the scene of an incident with firefighters (above). In addition, the mother also claims her son started the fire at the request of a volunteer firefighter who told Reyes they were bored. (Watch story by Tracee Wilkins here.)
The arrests of Reyes and Francis Ortiz-Oro were announced in a PGFD blog post Saturday. Even though his application to be a volunteer firefighter was denied Reyes claimed on his Facebook page that he worked at West Lanham Hills VFD (below).
The fire the men are accused of starting occurred about 30-hours after a controversial fatal fire in Prince George’s County. At the time of the first fire both West Lanham Hills fire stations were not staffed and the companies were not dispatched to the call. (Note: There’s no indication that was the case during the second fire that resulted in the arson arrests.)
Friday, members of the Prince George’s County Arson Task Force served a sealed search warrant on the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department, which operates fire houses on Good Luck Road and Annapolis Road, according to Mike Yourishin, a spokesperson for the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.
The warrant focused on a firehouse at 7609 Annapolis Road in New Carrollton according to Yourishin.
At visits by WUSA9 to both the organization’s firehouses Monday, reporters were told that leaders of the West Lanham Hills volunteers would not comment or provide any additional information about the search and whether Reyes had any relationship with the volunteer department.