Officials investigate cause of fire on USDA compound

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BELTSVILLE, Md. -- An investigation is underway after a fire tore through a structure on a USDA complex Tuesday.


“This fire was huge once we arrived on the scene,” explained Mark Brady, Chief Spokesperson for Prince George’s County Fire Department.


Brady said the large wooden structure was full of items that continued to fuel the flames.


“The shed housed different work shops, the first one was a masonry work shop, second one was a fire extinguisher work shop, there was an electrical work shop, the USDA stored a number of vehicles in one of the work shops, they stored some fuel products in another work shop, so a lot of fuel, and a lot of products to burn,” said Brady.


A week prior, the Department of Agriculture temporarily closed the Beltsville campus, and five other offices, following threats.


Officials are investigating cause of fire and whether or not arson was a factor.


“We are well aware of threats made against the USDA last week and as a matter of routine – not because of any threats, the ATF, as well as our fire investigators are conducting a joint investigation as to the cause and origin of this fire,” explained Brady.