Employee Charged With Arson In Belvedere Tire Store Fire

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore police say the man who started a three-alarm fire at a Northwest Baltimore tire shop worked there. He’s now under arrest and facing a long list of criminal charges, including first-degree arson.

Derek Valcourt has more on the shocking reason police say he did it.

Detectives say the employee was upset that another co-worker was using his favorite paintbrush.

It was just one week ago when Belvedere Tire Shop erupted into a massive inferno. It was a three-alarm fire that sent thick black smoke that smelled like petroleum billowing into the air.

One week later, the building that housed the family run shop is gone. But Belvedere Tire is back in business across the street, selling their tires in a vacant lot.

Valcourt: “You’re like a fighter.  You get knocked down, you get back up?”

“Come back fighting harder,” said Sam Hines, manager.

The family that runs the business is well aware that police arrested their 35-year-old employee, Jason Hicks.

Investigators say Hicks became upset that a co-worker was using his paintbrush.

“They got into a verbal argument, it escalated and Mr. Hicks produced a lighter. That lighter was ignited, it ignited one of the flammable tar substances that was coating a tire and resulted in a three-alarm fire,” said Det. Kevin Brown, Baltimore City Police.

Hicks suffered second-degree burns to his arm in the process.

Back at Belvedere Tire, managers don’t think Hicks intended to cause harm.

“It could have been horse-playing that just got out of hand, not expecting it to get that big,” Hines said. “I don’t think he got that upset that he would burn our building down.  I don’t think so.  Probably just a little playing that got out of hand more than anything.”

Valcourt: “So you have no hard feelings?”

“No,” Hines said. “No hard feelings toward no human being.”

He says instead they are focused on getting back to business as usual, serving loyal customers like Norma Jackson.

“It’s just a blessing that they are open,” Jackson said. “I’m glad. I’m so glad because I’ve been coming here for years.”

Even without a permanent roof over their heads, the owners say business goes on because the rubber always meets the road.

A judge has denied bail for Hicks. He faces a long list of criminal charges, including first-degree arson.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Fed Up says:

    So typical, the answer to some people is violence. Building and contents destroyed employees out of a job. The man was a “troublemaker” and the owner was probably afraid to fire him because of a lawsuit by the ACLU and NAACP. By the way WJZ had a picture of the accused on this morning.

    1. Dese Nutz says:

      you need to shut up because if you knew him you would know that he was never a troublemaker people just try to stereotype because of one mistake so stfu

  2. R. Bennett says:

    IM GLAD NOONE WAS KILLED & THAT THEY WERE ABLE TO STILL STAY IN BUSINESS. THE OWNER HAS NO ILL WILL TOWARDS ANYONE SO THATS WHAT MATTERS. GOD IS SOOO GOOD ALL THE TIME. A FRESH START FOR ALL INVOLVED. DONT BE SO QUICK TO JUDGE BCUZ ACCIDENTS HAPPEN & IT MAY HAPPEN TO ANY OF US. BE GLAD BCUZ LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BE ANYTHING BUT HAPPY.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Baltimore

Track Weather On The Go With Our App!
Your Podcast Network Play.it

Listen Live