Apr21

NEWS Information on off-campus suspicious fires and resources on arsons

U.S. Fire Administration sponsors Arson Awareness Week May 2-8, 2010. Click here for more information and resources.

updated on May 03 2010 14:00

City Police, Fire and U-M DPS form joint investigation team

April 21, 2010 -- The Ann Arbor Police and Fire Departments and the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety have formed a joint investigation team to address recent suspicious fires that have been reported off campus, department officials announced today.

"These fires are of grave concern to all of us in our community," said Ann Arbor Police Chief Barnett Jones. "By forming a joint investigation team with the University police, we are able to formally include additional resources to help solve this situation. We've also consulted with arson experts from the Michigan State Police to ensure we're looking at every possible angle."

U-M DPS Executive Director Ken Magee agrees. "The University Police have a great collaborative relationship with both the city police and fire departments," he said. "Though these fires have occurred in the city's jurisdiction, they have occurred in residential areas highly populated by U-M students and we are concerned and want to help."

In recent months, several suspicious fires have been reported in the city. The Ann Arbor Police and Fire departments continue to investigate multiple fires on April 3 and 17, one of which resulted in the death of one person and injuries to two others.

"Thus far our investigation has determined that the four vehicle fires on April 17 were intentionally set," Fire Chief Dominick Lanza said. "Since two previous fires occurred at two of the same locations as the vehicle fires, we believe there may be a connection. What we haven't been able to conclude yet is whether the house fire on April 3 is connected."

A reward of up to $5,000 for information about the fires is being offered from the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee.

"These fires need to stop," Jones said. "Vehicle fires and trash can fires not only destroy property and divert fire department resources, but they also present a tremendous risk in a highly populated environment."

In addition to extra police patrols and on-going investigations that the three departments are conducting, residents can help as well.

"We're asking residents to be extra vigilant," said Jones. "Immediately contact the police if you observe suspicious behavior around parked vehicles. Also clear building exits of combustibles and trash, ensure the smoke detectors in buildings are fully functional, and immediately evacuate buildings when alarms activate or you smell smoke."

Anyone with information about the recent fires is asked to contact:
* (734)794-6939 or Tips@A2gov.org for the Ann Arbor Police
* 800-44ARSON (An Arson Reward Hotline)
* A2FP@A2gov.org for the Arbor Fire Prevention

updated on Apr 21 2010 00:00

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