A 14-year veteran of the county fire department has been charged with arson in a fire that damaged a Glen Burnie house last January.
Richard Michael Freed, 34, an engine driver assigned to the Armiger station on Mountain Road in Pasadena, is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 3 in District Court. He is charged with dwelling arson and conspiracyin connection with a Jan. 15, 1991, house fire in the first block ofWendover Road in the Marley section of Glen Burnie.
The owner of the house, Richard Lee Yost Jr., 27, of Baltimore, is scheduled to stand trial on similar charges Jan. 6.
The men werearrested and charged in the arson late last month after authorities wiretapped a Nov. 20 telephone conversation between Freed and Yost that showed Freed had prior knowledge of the arson, according to court records. The phone call also showed they had discussed methods of setting fires the day before the arson fire, according to court records.
Freed, a Goldsboro resident, was suspended without pay Nov. 23 pending the results of a departmental hearing, said Capt. J. Gary Sheckells, spokesman for the county fire department. Freed was arrested Nov. 23, court records show. Sheckells was unable to say whether Freed has yet appeared for a department hearing, but he said no results were yet available.
An investigator in the arson, Lt. David C. Bond, yesterday refused to answer questions on the case and referred a reporter to Sheckells.
Sheckells provided few details of the investigation, saying only that the arrests were based on information uncovered at the fire scene and through a "lengthy investigation." He could not say how the fire was set and he said arson investigators had refused to share with him any theory on why the men allegedly conspired toset the fire.
"That part of the investigation has been kept confidential," he said.
A charging document in Yost's court file shows he called Freed at the Armiger station on Jan. 15, 1991 and told him the house on Wendover Road "was going to burn" and that he had put a blanket over a space heater.
The one-alarm fire was reported at 6:48 p.m. Jan. 15, 1991. Sheckells said the house, valued at $100,000, sustained an estimated $50,000 in damage; he said half of an estimated $50,000 in contents were also lost. He said no one was injured in the fire.