Columbia Pike arson suspect pushed baby toward flames: Police

WASHINGTON — An Arlington man faces several felony charges in the case of a fire in a high-rise on Columbia Pike that resulted in lane closures on Saturday morning.

Demetrius Antonio Taylor, 27, started the fire after a disagreement with a woman he knew, Arlington police say. During an argument, Taylor physically assaulted the victim then set fire to a floor mat.

According to police, as smoke and fire began to fill the apartment, Taylor then pushed an infant in a stroller toward the flames and ran.

After he fled the scene, the victim was able to rescue the infant and escape the apartment.

Flames erupt out a window Saturday at a Columbia Pike high-rise. (Courtesy Arlington Fire)
Flames erupt out a window Saturday at a Columbia Pike high-rise. (Courtesy Arlington Fire)

The fire occurred in a high-rise on Columbia Pike. (Courtesy Lincoln Kickbush)

Arlington police reached the scene around 11:20 a.m., where fire crews were already on the scene. (Courtesy Lincoln Kickbush)

The fire resulted in lane closures that snarled weekend traffic. (Courtesy Lincoln Kickbush)

Lanes were closed on Columbia Pike between Carlin Springs Road and South Frederick Street due to fire crew activity. (Courtesy Lincoln Kickbush)

Police are charging an Arlington man with felony arson in connection with the Columbia Pike fire. (Courtesy Lincoln Kickbush)

The suspect was taken into custody after 4:30 p.m. Saturday. (Courtesy Lincoln Kickbush)

Flames erupt out a window Saturday at a Columbia Pike high-rise. (Courtesy Arlington Fire)

Police say the victim and the infant were evaluated by medics at the scene.

Taylor was arrested later Saturday around 4:30 p.m. after police were notified that he had returned to the area. He was arrested without incident but became aggressive during questioning.

Police say Taylor kicked through a wall, spat on and threatened officers.

Taylor’s felony charges include arson, child endangerment, destruction of property and assault on law enforcement. He is also being charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.

The investigation is ongoing. Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call 703-228-4169 or email

The building that caught fire is located in the 5500 block of Columbia Pike. Below is a map of the area where police say the incident occurred.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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