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Firefighter Is Among Those Charged in Md. Arson Case

The seven-page affidavit says Speed admitted that he, "along with others with whom he was acquainted," was at the Hunters Brooke subdivision Dec. 6 when fires that destroyed or damaged 26 unoccupied houses were set.

Speed came to the attention of investigators after he showed up at the fire scene not long after the predawn conflagrations were brought under control by scores of firefighters.

_____Document_____
Affidavit signed by FBI agent in support of criminal complaint against Aaron L. Speed.
_____Photo Gallery_____
Md. Arson: Ten homes were destroyed and 16 damaged, resulting in an estimated $10 million in destruction to the new subdivision.
_____More From The Post_____
Guard Charged In Md. Arsons (The Washington Post, Dec 17, 2004)
U.S. Prosecution Is Likely for Md. Mass Arson Case (The Washington Post, Dec 16, 2004)
Ecology Terrorism Doubted In Arsons (The Washington Post, Dec 15, 2004)
11 More Houses Were Targeted In Md. Arsons (The Washington Post, Dec 9, 2004)
Arson Brings Battle Over Bog to Surface (The Washington Post, Dec 8, 2004)
Developer Plans to Rebuild Houses (The Washington Post, Dec 8, 2004)
Arson Turns A Dream Into Dread (The Washington Post, Dec 8, 2004)
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Charles County Fires

He identified himself to a Washington Post reporter as an employee of Security Services of America, the company contracted to guard the construction sight, and was quoted in the newspaper as raising suspicion about a van that he said he saw "lingering around" the area before the fires erupted.

That led to his questioning by investigators when, according to the affidavit, he was asked to speculate on the methods that the arsonist might have used.

He responded that the fires might have been set by "someone pouring an accelerant, followed by someone lighting it."

How?

"With a torch," the affidavit quotes him as saying.

What type of torch could be used?

"Hand-held propane torch."

Investigators recovered a hand-held propane torch at the scene.

Later in the interview, still in a speculative vein, Speed expanded his explanation.

"It would take approximately 15 minutes to set each house on fire, and one full hour for the houses to be fully engulfed in flames," he said, according to the affidavit.

Who might have set the fire?

"Someone who works at the site and who recently has experienced a great loss," Speed said.


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