Newspapers and phone books left in front of homes appear to have provided the fuel for two small fires set in East Rockville late Wednesday night.
“It seems the ‘fire bug’ that plagued our neighborhood last summer and fall is back again,” read a post on the East Rockville Civic Association blog on Thursday. “Last night (2/6) two small fires were set in the exact same area as before.”
“Both occurred late in the evening and again the fuel was weekly Gazette newspapers left out and recently distributed phone books also left out in yards and driveways,” the post said.
Rockville city police Maj. Bob Rappoport told The Gazette that someone set several similar fires near Croydon Park last year. The fires burned out on their own, Rappoport said.
The ERCA post encouraged neighbors to “be vigilant especially in the late evening hours” and call police if they see or hear anything suspicious.
“Do not hesitate to call, let the police determine if it's important or not, the post said.
Arson and vandalism are not unheard of at city parks. On Thanksgiving eve, an arson fire destroyed playground equipment at Rockville Civic Center Park, causing an estimated $160,000 in damage. Four teens, ages 14 to 16, were arrested in connection with the fire.
That fire occurred not far from where an outdoor sculpture was toppled and a bulletin board at the front of Fitzgerald Theatre was smashed in July, 2011. There has been no arrest in that incident.