Public's assistance sought in LaVale vehicle arson

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Jul. 8—CUMBERLAND, Md. — The public's assistance is being sought by the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office to identify a person observed running from the scene of a vehicle fire in the first block of National Highway at daylight Thursday.

It was about 5:45 a.m. when LaVale Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the LaVale Automotive Service at 12 National Highway after a passerby reported the fire.

First-arriving firefighters discovered the bulk of the fire was confined to the hood of a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The blaze was contained before spreading to any other vehicles or to the business building.

State fire investigators concluded the fire was arson that took place after a flammable liquid was poured on the hood of the Jeep vehicle.

The vehicle was declared a total loss estimated at $2,500. The vehicle owner reportedly told investigators that the SUV was used as a contractual mail delivery vehicle.

Multiple witnesses reported seeing a man running at a fast pace west on National Highway from the automotive shop property seconds before the vehicle fire was discovered.

The suspect was reportedly wearing light-colored pants or shorts and a dark-colored shirt.

Anyone with information relative to the investigation is urged to contact Deputy State Fire Marshal Robert Reed at 301-729-5542.