Lanham townhouse fire was set after argument

LANHAM, Md. (WJLA) - Prince George's County police now say that a townhouse fire that displaced a family in Lanham, Maryland overnight appears to be arson.

Police said a man whom they believe started the fire just after midnight, which sent flames soaring through the roof, is now in custody.

Investigators believe the man, who has not identified, started the fire in an upstairs bedroom after an argument with his mother and brother.

Peace Menseh, a neighbor, called 911 from her townhouse down the street.

Menseh says she's known the family for years, and finds this surprising.

Jack Wittmann, who lives next door to the family for decades, said, "They've been great neighbors. There's no reason to suspect they would do anything like that."

Wittmann said he was concerned the fire would spread to his home, and that, now that it's over, he's counting his blessings that it didn't.

"Just a little bit of smoke, and the fans are running, so hopefully that will take care of it," he said.

There is no word yet on whether any charges will be filed in the case.

Officials said the damage is estimated at $65,000.

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