2021 | Police & Fire

UPDATED: Series of fires damage businesses, home, vehicle; arson suspected

Five fires reported in about 40 minutes

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Officials are investigating a series of fires on Thursday morning in the Gaithersburg area, including at a dollar store on East Diamond Avenue.

via Pete Piringer

This story and headline were updated at 5:55 p.m. Oct. 7, 2021, to add more details.

Police are investigating a series of fires and a business burglary in the Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village areas early Thursday morning. They suspect that at least three fires were intentionally set.

In the early-morning hours on Thursday, firefighters responded to five fires within about 40 minutes — at an eye-care business, a shed near a home, a dollar store, a garage and a vehicle.

The fires caused at least $360,000 in damage, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer.

Gaithersburg police described the sequence of events as:

• At 1:20 a.m., Fire and Rescue Service responded to Montgomery Village Eye Center at 18310 Montgomery Village Ave. for a reported fire that is being investigated as arson.

• At 1:30 a.m., Gaithersburg police responded to Jewelry Exchange of Maryland at 501 N. Frederick Ave. in Gaithersburg for a commercial alarm. Police said someone entered the building and stole jewelry.

• At 1:30 a.m., Fire and Rescue Service responded to the 19500 block of Divot Place in Montgomery Village for a reported shed and fence fire behind a house.

• At 1:35 a.m., Fire and Rescue Service responded to the 10000 block of Dellcastle Road in Montgomery Village for a reported garage fire.

• At 1:42 a.m., Fire and Rescue Service responded to the 100 block of Watkins Station Circle in Gaithersburg for a reported vehicle fire that is being investigated as arson. Police said the vehicle had been stolen from the Gaithersburg area.

• At 2:01 a.m., Fire and Rescue Service responded to the Galanis Center at 8 E. Diamond Ave. for a reported commercial fire that is being investigated as arson. The fire was at a Dollar Choice store.

Piringer posted on Twitter estimates of some of the damage.

He wrote that the shed and fence fire, which melted a home’s siding, caused about $30,000 in damage.

The garage fire on Dellcastle Road caused about $150,000 in damage, he wrote.

The Dollar Choice fire caused about $180,000 in damage.

No injuries were reported in any of the fires, according to Piringer.

Police asked anyone with information to call them at 301-258-6400 or the county’s arson tip line at 240-777-2263.

Managing Editor Andrew Schotz contributed to this story.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com