Arson Epidemic in Detroit

The understaffed Detroit (MI) Fire Department is having a difficult time keeping up with investigating the thousands of arsons reported in the city each year.

A news report from WXYZ ( states that, Detroit currently only has six certified arson investigators, although the department is budgeted for 16. Despite their best efforts, these well-trained investigators can't begin to tackle the city's overwhelming work load.

"I think people just kind of say it's just another fire and they think they can get away with it, and a lot of times, unfortunately, that is true," Detroit Fire Captain Charles Simms told reporters.

The report from Detroit comes on the heels of another report Monday from Scripps News about America's unreported arson problem. A yearlong investigation found that arson is much more common than is reported by the U.S. government. Only five percent of all residential building fires are intentionally set, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), but most arsons go unreported up to the federal level. Scripps contacted 10 fire departments in the nation's biggest cities to ask for case-by-case records of their arsons to compare what was reported to NFIRS against what should have been reported.

Read more about the case of Detroit at




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