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Firefighters: Former volunteer applicant accused of arson

February 3, 2020 GMT

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — A man accused of arson recently attempted to become a volunteer firefighter and was denied twice, according to fire officials in Maryland.

Francis Ortiz-Oro, 20, and Giancarlo Reyes, 19, were accused of setting a vacant house on fire Jan. 20 in Prince George’s County, news outlets reported.

Witnesses said two men entered the home before the fire, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS said in a news release. Fire officials said smoke began rising and then the pair then left the house. Investigators believe the men later returned to the house to make sure the fire was growing.

A neighbor reported the flames and firefighters put out the blaze, the news release stated. No one was hurt, but officials said the cost of the damage was estimated at $50,000.

Reyes had applied to be a volunteer firefighter with the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department. His application was denied in January 2019 after a background check, according to the news release. An appeal was denied in May 2019.

Ortiz-Oro and Reyes were charged with first- and second-degree arson, the release states. Both were being held without bond.

It’s unclear whether the men had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.