Deputy State Fire Marshals have charged a Waldorf man with 1st Degree Arson in connection with the December 29, 2010 fire at McDonald’s in Waldorf.
Mark Elliot Merritt, age 18, also faces charges of 2nd Degree Arson and 1st Degree Malicious Burning in the igniting of combustible items in the store room of the restaurant located at 3300 Leonardtown Road.
The 5:49 p.m. fire caused an estimated $1,500 damage to the structure and contents of the store room area. Deputy State Fire Marshals determined the point of origin for the fire was cardboard boxes that were deliberately ignited with a lighter. Investigators were able to determine the defendant was working at the time of the fire.
Merritt was arrested on a warrant today without incident with the assistance of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and transported to the Charles County Detention Center. He is currently awaiting review before a District Court Commissioner. The investigation continues to determine the defendant’s motive.
Employees used portable fire extinguishers to contain the blaze until the arrival of the fire department. Firefighters from Waldorf Fire Department completed extinguishment of the blaze within one minute.
There were no injuries reported during the incident.
If convicted of these charges Merritt faces penalties of up to 55 years imprisonment and/or $85,000 in fines.