For Immediate Release - February 25, 2014

Investigators Ask for Citizens Help in Solving Series of Suspicious Greenfield Fires

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan, and Greenfield Police Chief Robert H. Haigh Jr. are asking the residents of a neighborhood in southeastern Greenfield for help stopping a series of suspicious fires. The fires have involved dumpsters, trash, mattresses and unoccupied homes and took place in the neighborhood around Deerfield, Washington, Davis and James Streets.

Arson Watch Reward Program: Hotline 1-800-682-9229

“If you have information about these fires, please call the statewide Arson Hotline at 1-800-682-9229, confidentially, 24-hours a day, or local police,” said State Fire Marshal Coan. The Arson Hotline is part of the Arson Watch Reward Program that provides rewards of up to $5,000 for information that helps to solve the crime of arson. The program is funded by the property and casualty insurance underwriting companies in Massachusetts. “Arson is not a victimless crime; it impacts the entire community,” he added. Anyone with information can also text an anonymous tip to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office to 274637, and type PROTECT or KIDSAFE in the message.

Watch for and Report Suspicious Activity

“If anyone sees suspicious activity in the neighborhood at night, especially around an unoccupied home, they should call 9-1-1 to report it right away,” said Police Chief Haigh. “There is no good reason for anyone to be loitering at night around a home that is vacant, for sale or otherwise unoccupied. Neighbors are asked to keep an extra watch on unoccupied buildings on their street. Keep an eye out for anyone hanging around, breaking into the building, or unusual noises,” he added.

Steps to Avoid Being a Target Property

“Owners of uninhabited property can take steps to prevent it from being an easy target of arson: remove any trash and debris that an arsonist could easily ignite; lock doors including the garage to prevent easy entry; and install motion sensor exterior lights,” said Fire Chief Strahan.

1,135 Arsons - 271 Structures, 114 Vehicles, 750 Other Arsons

In 2012, there were 1,135 arson fires reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System, including 271 structure arsons, 114 motor vehicle arsons, and 750 outside and other arsons. These fires caused 16 civilian injuries, 27 fire service injuries and an estimated $13.4 million in property damage.