A former Riverdale volunteer firefighter has been charged with first-degree arson in connection with a 2008 blaze in Hyattsville, according to Prince George's County fire officials.
Gerard McBurnie Dixon, Jr., 23, of Bladensburg was arrested Wednesday by out-of-state law enforcement and is awaiting extradition back to the county, PGFD spokesman Mark E. Brady said in a statement.
Dixon is accused of "maliciously setting fire" to a home at 4504 Kennedy St., located just south of Riverdale Park in Hyattsville.
On June 29, 2008 at 3:25 a.m., members of and nearby stations were called to the address after a report of a burning house. A firefighter sustained minor injuries while battling the heavy flames.
Dixon was developed as a suspect by county fire investigators, Brady said, who were aided by special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Prince George's County Police Department.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the RFD said that it was cooperating with the investigation but added that the charges "should in no way reflect on the dedication that the majority of volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel put forth each and every day protecting life and property."
"While these are the alleged actions of an individual, we as a department sincerely apologize to the community and ask that you not prejudge all volunteers on the basis of these allegations," the statement reads. "As in any profession, there are those that do not act responsibly, and they will be called to answer."
If convicted, Dixon faces up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
An investigation is ongoing, Brady said, and additional arrests are possible.