Ga. Commissioner Reminds Residents of Arson Dangers

April 29, 2004

Marking the start of National Arson Awareness Week (May 2-8), Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine is reminding Georgians that they can get personally involved in the
fight against the crime of arson.

“Juvenile Firesetting: The Preventable Arson,” this year’s National Arson Awareness Week theme, is designed to increase awareness of the problem of young people setting fires.

Oxendine said that nationally, more than half of all arson arrests involve children under the age of 18. Last year in Georgia, Oxendine’s arson unit investigated 30 fires that were set by juvenile offenders.

“We need communities and families to become involved in this phase of the fight against arson,” Oxendine said.

In Georgia, Oxendine and the Georgia Arson Control Board co-sponsor a 24- hour toll- free arson hotline. Rewards of up to $10,000 are given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. Anyone with information about an arson can call 1-800-282-5804; callers can choose to remain anonymous.

Last year, Oxendine’s Arson Unit investigated 273 arsons in Georgia that claimed 10 lives, injured 13, and caused more than $13.1 million in property damage.

Arson investigators made 127 arrests and obtained 58 convictions.

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