A person of interest is in custody after Montgomery County, Maryland, firefighters responded to multiple blazes early Sunday morning.
The first fire was reported at 2:30 a.m. at the Holbrook Center across from Gaithersburg High School in the 400 block of South Frederick Avenue near Education Boulevard, according to Pete Piringer, spokesperson for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.
He said there appeared to be at least three fires set at businesses in the center, with significant damage to two stores. About 75 firefighters responded to that scene.
Update – Holbrook Center, 400blk S Frederick Av; @mcfrs Fire Explosive Investigators indicate the several fires (at 3 separate fires) are suspicious in nature, damage is significant (included 2 different stores & A person of interest has been identified (& in custody) pic.twitter.com/5IgdDHUJPM
— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) September 17, 2023
The second fire was at LaFrontera Restaurant on Russell Avenue in Gaithersburg around 3:15 a.m. where the restaurant, a vehicle and a fence were set on fire, Piringer said. Another 75 firefighters responded to this scene.
“Fire investigators of course to believe that the fires are suspicious in nature, just solely based on geography and time of day,” Piringer said. “They are connected. There is a person of interest that has been identified. That person is in custody.”
He said there was also an “outside fire” at the Gaithersburg Police Station.
In total, Piringer said that there were about six fires throughout early Sunday morning they believe are connected.
Russell Patrick Kennedy, who lives in the condominiums across from the LaFrontera Restaurant and the plaza it is located in said that he woke up to the sound of the fires.
“I was in bed asleep and then there were a lot of little things that sounded like gunshots going off,” he said. “The car was just completely engulfed. You couldn’t tell that it was a car anymore.”
A Gaithersburg resident that lives near the Holbrook Center shared the videos of the fires below exclusively with WTOP.
WTOP’s Luke Garrett contributed to this report.
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