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An investigation into a fire at a vacant house in Potomac Heights has led to an arson arrest.

At 3:55 p.m. March 7, a neighbor reported a fire in a vacant one-story house on Elder Place in Potomac Heights in Indian Head. It took firefighters 30 minutes to control the fire, which caused about $55,000 in damage, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office reported.

The fire marshal determined that Charles Harding, 49, of Welcome intentionally set his own house on fire.

Based on the investigation, the fire was set in the bedroom of the detached single-family home. Harding was not residing in the home at the time of the fire.

According to the fire marshal’s office, Harding has been charged with first-degree arson and malicious burning with the intent to defraud.

Harding will have court appearances in the upcoming months, and faces up to 35 years in prison and/or $55,000 in fines if convicted.

Anyone with information on the fire should call the fire marshal’s office at 443-550-6820 or the arson hotline at 800-492-7529.

GRETCHEN PHILLIPS