Ga. Commissioner Reminds Residents of Arson Dangers

May 5, 2005

Marking National Arson Awareness Week, 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.

“School Arson – A Burning Subject,” this year’s National Arson Awareness Week theme, is designed to increase awareness of the problem of juvenile firesetters targeting schools.

Oxendine said that nationally 61 percent of all school structure fires, and 70 percent of high school fires, are caused by arson.

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

In Georgia, Commissioner 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.

Since its inception 1979, the Arson Control Board has given out more than $1 million in reward money.

Last year, Oxendine’s Arson Unit investigated 310 arsons in Georgia that claimed seven lives, injured seven, and caused more than $18.5 million in property damage. Arson investigators made 123 arrests and obtained 44 convictions.

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