Sprinkler System Helps Investigators to Arsonist Who Robbed and Tried to Burn Apartment

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LEXINGTON PARK, MD – A working sprinkler system inside a St. Mary’s apartment helped police and investigators solve a crime of burglary and arson.

According to the Maryland Deputy State Fire Marshals, that sprinkler system and pawned items stolen after a Lexington Park apartment fire are credited with leading investigators to their suspect.

Deputy State Fire Marshals charged Terrell Anthony Duckett, 26, yesterday with burglary, theft, and arson charges stemming from the March 2022 fire.

“On March 21, 2022, at around 3:00 p.m., Bay District Volunteer Fire Department responded to 4652 Valley Court for a reported apartment fire. Firefighters later discovered a fire within a bedroom closet that had been extinguished due to the sprinkler system activating,” the agency said in a statement on Wednesday. “Deputy State Fire Marshals were requested to investigate the cause and discovered evidence the apartment had been burglarized and concluded the suspect had intentionally started the fire. Investigators credit the sprinkler system with containing the fire and minimizing damage to around 3,000 dollars.”

” Arson investigations are lengthy and arduous, but in this case, the activation of a sprinkler system can be credited on many levels. The sprinkler system not only extinguished the fire but also minimized the damage, allowed multiple tenants to remain in their homes, and assisted in identifying the cause as well as stolen items that may have otherwise been lost in the fire,” stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci

Later, investigators interviewed the occupant of the apartment and discovered several items, including big screen televisions, cell phones, and an Xbox and PlayStation, had been stolen.

“Investigators later tracked down the electronics at a local pawn shop and identified Duckett as the person who pawned the items,” DSFM said.

Duckett yesterday, and is currently incarcerated at St. Mary’s County Detention Center, on unrelated charges. Duckett is charged with first-degree arson, first-degree burglary, second-degree malicious burning, malicious destruction of property under $1,000, and theft under $1,500.