State Fire Marshal Sink Announces Arson Awareness Week, Designated May 2-8, 2010
CONTACT: Kevin Cate or Jennifer Hirst (850) 413-2842
Captain Bill Wade (813) -210-9911 (on site)
TALLAHASSEE— Florida CFO & State Fire Marshal Alex Sink, Tampa Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones and Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention President James Smallwood today announced Arson Awareness Week 2010, which takes place this week May 2-8, 2010. From January - April 30, 2010, there have been 527 incendiary fires in Florida, compared to 1785 similar fires in 2009. State Fire Marshal Sink’s office made 390 arrests for arson last year, four percent above the national average.
“Educating Floridians about the crime of arson and the importance of working with law enforcement and our professional firefighters is the most effective way to fight arson in our communities,” said CFO and State Fire Marshal Sink. “Arson in neighborhood businesses, schools, and places of worship has increased over the past year and our message is simple but very clear: Arson robs communities of their most valuable assets – lives and property.”
“I would like to thank the Arson Task Force for their commitment and support to my communities throughout the rash of arsons we have experienced over the past year,” said Fire Chief Dennis Jones. “I also want to encourage citizens to be proactive in their neighborhoods – be alert, be aware and call local law enforcement if you see any suspicious activity. We want the public to know that their law enforcement and fire partners are committed to pursuing all avenues to investigate and arrest those responsible for these very serious crimes.”
Statistics show an estimated average of 316,600 intentional fires are reported to fire departments in the United States each year causing injuries to 7,825 firefighters and civilians. In 2006, 10 firefighters died as a result of arson. In addition to needless injury and death, an estimated $1.1 billion in direct property loss occurs.
“The partnership FACAP shares with local, state and federal agencies fighting the crime of arson is something I am very proud to be a part of,” said FACAP President James Smallwoood. “By bringing together the expertise of firefighters and law enforcement, along with industry leaders’ experience, we are making it harder for someone to commit the crime of arson.”
Arson Awareness Week is part of a nationwide initiative by the United States Fire Administration (USFA) partnering with, International Association of Arson Investigators, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), USAonWatch, National Association of State Fire Marshals, National Volunteer Fire Council, and the Insurance Committee to educate the public on the important role of community arson awareness and how it can and does play an important role preventing this devastating crime.