OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – The first week of May is Arson Awareness Week.
“Arson is one of those things that people think doesn’t happen a lot but it actually does. It’s the fifth most common cause of fires for house fires and third for non house fires,” said John Holland, the Public Information Officer for the Oshkosh Fire Department.
He said there are approximately 25,000 arson fires every year in the United States.
“You’re not going to get away with it,” said Holland. “Most people think everything burns up in a fire. It does not. We have two trained fire investigators here in Oshkosh.”
The Wisconsin Department of Justice provides resources to Local Fire Departments in the cases of suspected arson.
“The department of justice does have an accelerant sniffing dog,” said Holland.
Attorney General Josh Kaul said, “Wisconsin DOJ’s Arson Bureau is a critical resource for law enforcement, fire departments, and victims across the state. When a possible arson has occurred, the expertise of fire and explosion investigators can play a key role in the investigation.”
Preventable fires cause unnecessary danger for first responders.
“It does put our firefighters in danger unnecessarily,” said Holland. “There are enough accidental fires out there that it’s bad enough that we have to go in and yes that is our job but we don’t want to have to risk our lives unnecessarily.”
He said arson fires can be more dangerous and difficult to fight because they are often started in multiple locations, accelerants are normally used and they take away resources that could be used elsewhere.
“Arson fires obviously take away a lot of resources from a lot of other things that we do. It takes a lot of people to investigate a fire,” said Holland.