Five volunteer firefighters with the West Lanham Hills department have been indicted for allegedly working with civilians to set fires at abandoned homes — all so they could put out the flames, according to Prince George’s County, Maryland, State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.
“It is unacceptable and it’s disheartening and it makes us angry,” Braveboy said during a Friday news conference in Largo. “These are individuals who absolutely know the devastation that can be caused by fire.”
Her comments came after a yearlong investigation into arson cases from 2019 and 2020.
The indicted volunteers are accused of working with three civilians to set fires at four vacant structures “solely for the purpose of being called to and extinguishing those fires,” Fire and EMS Battalion Chief Shajahan Jagtiani said.
He said they “had knowledge of and were involved in the planning of arsons.”
The five accused were taken off the job at the start of the investigation.
One firefighter has been arrested. The others have been given criminal summonses.
All of them face multiple charges.