DETROIT (WDIV) - More suspicious fires burned early Tuesday in Detroit. 3, large, vacant structures caught fire at the corner of Belvidere and St. Paulon the city’s east side. Firefighters there say it’s a possibility that the same person suspected of setting close to a dozen fires Monday could be responsible for this morning’s fires.
WDIV Video: Nobody to Catch Arsonists
FRM/FFN: Detroit to Layoff Ove 100 Firefighters
What the Mayor didn’t mention is the reduction of Detroit’s elite arson squad.
The team of 19, highly trained law enforcement officers is now down to 14 investigators and that number is expected to be cut to 9 in July.
Investigators call the firefighter layoffs and the cuts in the arson squad “The Perfect Storm” of bringing the city of Detroit right back to being the arson capital of the world. Investigators warn that with fewer investigators, currently there are no arson squad members staffing the afternoon and overnight shifts.
Many fires won’t be investigated and that may embolden firebugs, encourage criminals to light fires to cover up major crimes and the issue of car insurance fraud may return to Detroitin a big way. Arson squad investigators say they’ve helped rid the city of the problem of people setting their car on fire in Detroit only to claim that it was stolen. Now, people may again try to make insurance claims on car fires knowing that the fires won’t likely be assigned to an investigator.
Detroit’s arson squad sent Mayor Bing a detailed analysis of the impact cutting the arson squad will have on the city and overall public safety. Insiders tell Local 4, they received no response from the Mayor.
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