Press Release, Office of the State Fire Marshal

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD( December 28, 2018) – Deputy State Fire Marshals have charged a female inmate after she set fire to her prison cell at Maryland Correctional Institution for Woman in Jessup Sunday evening.

 Firefighters from Fort Mead, Anne Arundel and Howard counties were dispatched to the facility located at 7943 Brock Bridge Road on December 23, 2018 at 8:40 p.m. for a reported building fire. Upon arrival, firefighters were contacted by correctional officers who advised a fire had broken out on D-Wing of Building 192. Correctional staff advised all inmates had been safely evacuated and the fire was still active. Firefighters entered the building and discovered a fire contained to one cell and extinguished the blaze within minutes. 

 Due to the facility being owned by the State of Maryland, the Office of the State Fire Marshal was requested to respond to conduct an investigation into the origin and cause of the fire. During the course of the investigation Deputy State Fire Marshals determined Haley Elizabeth Biser, age 19, had intentionally ignited items within her cell. Biser remained in the cell until other other inmates and correctional officers noticed smoke coming from within the cell. Correctional officers made access and discovered a fire along with heavy smoke conditions. During the course of attempting to extinguish the blaze with fire extinguishers, officers observed Biser laying on the floor of the cell.

Haley Elizabeth Biser, age 19

Correctional officers pulled Biser from the cell and were able to safely escape from the building.  It was concluded Biser was the only inmate in the cell at the time of the fire. Biser was later evaluated by correctional medical staff and declined medical attention.   A total of five correctional officers were taken to off-site medical facilities for evaluation of smoke inhalation. All were treated and later released. Another female inmate was transported to Baltimore Washington Medical Center for an unrelated medical emergency. 

Biser was charged with Arson 1st Degree, Arson 2nd Degree, Malicious Burning 1st Degree and Possession of Contraband In A Place of Confinement. Biser remains in custody of the Division of Correction. Deputy State Fire Marshals were assisted by detectives from the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Intelligence and Investigative Division.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...