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Garrett County Couple Arrested for June 2023 House Fire

March 7th, 2024 by WCBC Radio

A Garrett County man and woman were charged after a grand jury handed up indictments for an arson fire last summer that killed two cats and almost a kennel of puppies at their home.

Christopher J. Baker, 36, and April J. Fazenbaker, 41, both of Friendsville, were charged with first-degree arson and conspiracy to commit first-degree arson after a lengthy investigation by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. 

Just after 7:15 a.m. on June 1, 2023, firefighters responded to a reported house fire at 339 Cherry Lane Road in Friendsville. After extinguishing the fire, the Office of the State Fire Marshal was requested to investigate. Investigators concluded there were two separate points of origin within the home. Tragically, the fire killed two cats living inside the home. Fortunately, firefighters could extinguish the fires before they had spread to the front porch, where a kennel of six puppies was located. After collecting evidence and conducting several interviews, they developed Baker and Fazenbaker, who both lived in the home as suspects.  "After learning of this heartbreaking incident where the owners are accused of deliberately setting a fire that tragically led to the deaths of their cats and nearly killed a kennel of puppies, I am deeply saddened and appalled by this senseless act of cruelty," stated Acting State Fire Marshal Jason M. Mowbray.

With the assistance of the Garrett County State's Attorney's Office, Deputy State Fire Marshals presented the case to the grand jury, and Baker and Fazenbaker were indicted on Monday. The couple turned themselves in and were taken to the Garrett County Detention Center. They were both released after posting an unsecured $20,000 bond.