Press Release, Mark Brady PGFD PIO

College Park, MD- A man was arrested for setting fire to a College Park commercial strip center early this morning.  Just before 2:00 am, Friday, December 14th, firefighters arrived at the scene of a 1-story commercial structure that several businesses occupy in the 10000 block of Rhode Island Avenue.  Units arrived to find fire showing from a middle of the row business.  The well-advanced fire extended to attached businesses on both sides before being extinguished.

The building of origin is a mental health facility going by the name of “On Our Own”.

The fire was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported.  Personnel form the Fire/EMS Department Office of the Fire Marshal determined the fire was incendiary in nature.  Fire loss was estimated at $250,000.

Paul Franklin Willis 3rd, ,  37 of no fixed address

Shortly after firefighters arrived on the scene a suspect was identified and taken into custody by law enforcement officials.The suspect, Paul Franklin Willis 3rd (DOB 01/24/1981) of no fixed address, has been  charged with starting the fire at 10007 Rhode Island Avenue.  

 Charges include:

  • Arson- Second Degree (Felony)
  • Malicious Burning- First Degree (Felony)
  • Malicious Burning- Second Degree (Misdemeanor)
  • Reckless Endangerment (Misdemeanor)

Additional charges are pending