Arson suspect still at large in connection with Columbia fire

WASHINGTON – Police and fire units responded to a two-alarm fire linked to arson in Columbia, Md. Friday night. No one was injured by the blaze but the suspect is still at large.

The Howard County Police Department continue to search for a man in connection with the apartment fire that started shortly after police responded to the residence for a disturbance.

On April 5 around 9:30 p.m., units from Howard County’s Department of Fire and Rescue Services responded to the 5300-block of Harpers Farm Road in Columbia. Police had already arrived at the scene in response to an earlier disturbance call and were located in the parking lot tending to an apartment resident with visible injuries.

As the officers began to approach the apartment building, a man appeared in the second-story apartment window and began shouting obscenities at the officers, according to Howard County Police.

Police then observed a fire inside the apartment soon after and forced the door to enter the apartment in an attempt to apprehend the suspect and put out the fire. The suspect fled out of a rear window and has not been located.

Officers notified the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services and evacuated the adjacent buildings prior to their arrival. The fire was under control in under an hour. Harpers Farm Road was shut down for an extended period of time but has been reopened.

The American Red Cross is assisting in relocating 17 residents who were evacuated from adjacent apartments. Arson and Domestic Violence investigators also responded to the investigation. Police are currently pursuing charges against the alleged suspect and say the investigation is continuing.

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