Economic Link Suspected in Maine Arson Fires

December 29, 2008

Maine’s fire marshal says a rise in arson fires is likely related to the slumping economy.

State figures thus far this year show 134 confirmed incendiary, or arson, fires representing $8 million worth of property. An additional 52 incidents or fire scenes are either under investigation or ready to be investigated.

For 2007, there were 130 confirmed cases involving $4.6 million in property.

Fire Marshal John Dean says he has seen more mention in his investigators’ reports of vacant buildings or buildings under foreclosure and vehicles that have burned for no reason other than to collect on insurance.

Dean said he suspects that the economy may be driving a lot of crimes. He says people feel trapped when they lose their jobs, and that can lead to robberies, assaults, domestic violence, substance abuse and arson.


Information from: Bangor Daily News

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