Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting, Structural Firefighting

Abandoned Building Policy: Five Years Later

Issue 6 and Volume 167.

BY ANDREW GRAVES Abandoned building fires are a significant problem for fire departments across the country. Abandoned buildings present a ready target for arsonists and a hazardous environment for firefighters. They have a minimal value to the community even before they are damaged by fire and are havens for crime, blight, and vandalism that reduce the value of nearby properties. Flint, Michigan, is plagued by frequent fires in vacant and abandoned buildings. Annual Federal Bureau of Investigation crime statistics gave the city the dubious distinction of being ranked number one in per capita arson for cities with a population of more than 100,000 in 2010 and 2011. An internal study conducted in Flint during 2007 identified a high rate of firefighter injuries at abandoned building fires. The national average rate of firefighter injury is 3.7 per 100 incidents, as reported by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Flint’s rate of…

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