SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The State Fire Marshal closed 53 cases of arson in 2020, and the office is working to make that number go down.
The United States Fire Administration says that over 210,000 fires every year are classified as arson. Those cases also result in 375 civilian deaths, 1,300 civilian injuries, and $1 billion in property damage.
Fire fighters go through particular training to deal with arson cases. Sometimes fires are set to mask other crimes, according to John High from the University of Illinois Fire Institute. He helps train fire fighters to spot other hazards that can come with dealing with arson.
The Illinois State Fire Marshal is encouraging departments to revisit their plans for dealing with Arson.
“Arson is a serious crime and I encourage communities and fire departments to work together to help raise awareness to prevent these fires that are costing people their lives and needlessly putting firefighters in dangerous situations. If you see something, say something,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “I encourage departments to review their plans for dealing with arson related to civil unrest, as we have seen an increase in activity over the past year and a half. Keeping firefighter safe on the fireground should be a top priority, while still working to effectively protect the lives and property in their communities.”