Seattle Forms Arson Squad
The Seattle, Wash., Fire Department has formed an arson investigation squad which will be on duty 24 hours a day. The squad, under the command of Lieutenant Darrell DeZarn, includes four experienced fire investigators from the fire prevention division and two officercandidates. Previously, fire investigators worked days and were on call at night.
The need for the squad was indicated by a study of the fire records that showed incendiary fires doubled during the last five years. The Seattle Fire Department Newsletter, in commenting on reasons for forming the squad, noted that in Seattle the average arson fire loss is $6,500— two and a half times more than the average for other building fires. During the first 10 months of last year, the loss attributed to incendiary fires was $2.8 million, which far exceeded the nearly $2 million increase in the total fire loss for the same period.
The department is stressing incendiary fire investigation and is getting a skilled investigation team on the scene as soon as possible.