chapter  25
6 Pages

Vacant Structures

Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but U.S. fire statistics are meticulously tabulated and sadly, quite factual. Every year, approximately 31,000 fires occur in U.S. structures that have been previously coded by fire departments as vacant buildings. The primary suspect in each vacant property fire is automatically an (unknown subject) arsonist, since over 70% of these fires have historically been classified incendiary or suspicious. Sometimes the firesetter’s actions have not been deliberate. Homeless people have been known to start small fires in vacant buildings as a source of heat, that one way or another spread and burn out of control. Statistically, “child-play” starts fires in abandoned buildings at a rate three times that of the occurrence for childplay fires in school properties.