This week is Arson Awareness Week in Michigan.
Gov. Rick Snyder proclaimed the awareness week to emphasize the cost of deliberately set fires and encourage citizens to work together to prevent them.
The National Fire Incident Reporting System estimates that 1,669 fires were intentionally set in Michigan in 2016.
These fires resulted in two deaths, 14 injuries nearly $19 million in losses. The loss amount doesn’t include indirect costs such as medical care, temporary shelter, business interruption, demolition, fire investigation, prosecution, court proceedings or incarceration.
"Arson affects all of us and we all have a stake in fighting this devastating and deadly crime,” State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer said.
Sehlmeyer said fires can be caused by youths or serial arsonists. Motivations for arson can include vandalism, concealing another crime, excitement or, most commonly, retaliation.
The Michigan Bureau of Fire Services and the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee offered the following tips for helping to prevent arson:
- Keep homes and businesses well lit; set up inexpensive motion-activated lighting near entrances. Put interior lights on timers to give the illusion the home or building is occupied.
- Install burglar and fire alarms and a sprinkler system.
- Keep overgrown bushes cut low for a clear view of the property from the road.
- Keep houses, garage doors and windows, and businesses locked and bolted with deadbolt locks to external doors.
- Keep occupied and unoccupied property free of trash and debris.
"Arson devastates lives, families and communities. We all need to work together to douse the flame of arson," said Patrick E. Riney Jr., executive director of MPAC.
MAPC’s Arson Control Reward Program offers up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrests and convictions of arsonists. The program had led to 1,245 arrests.
Call 800-44-ARSON to report tips anonymously.