Insurers Sue Security Firm for Hiring Alleged Md. Arsonist

The insurers for the company building the Hunters Brooke development in Charles County, Maryland have filed a lawsuit against the security firm that employed one of the men who allegedly set fire to the subdivision last December.

The suit, filed last Friday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, accuses Security Services of America, or SSA, of negligence and breach of contract. The suit seeks “in excess of $3 million.”

SSA was hired to provide security for Hunters Brooke as it was under construction in Indian Head. An early morning arson fire on Dec. 6 damaged dozens of homes, causing $10 million in damage.

One of the men accused of the crime, Aaron Speed, worked for SSA and was on duty that night at Hunters Brooke. Speed has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson. Speed told investigators that he took part in the crime because he thought SSA did not treat him well after his infant son died.

Another security guard, William Fitzpatrick, was supposed to be on duty that morning. He allegedly told investigators he left his post at 4:45 a.m., but he was indicted this year for lying to investigators, who believe he actually left Hunters Brooke earlier.

The lawsuit was filed by underwriters for Lloyds of London and Axis Specialty Europe Ltd., the insurers for builder Patriot Homes.

It claims there was “an express and/or implied” agreement “that SSA would provide security personnel who were of the highest moral character, and whose backgrounds and fitness for the job had been properly vetted, and that SSA provided appropriate professional training and supervision to its security personnel.”

The first trial in the case, of alleged ringleader Patrick Walsh, was scheduled to begin Aug. 16 in Baltimore.

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