There have been a number of suspicious fires lately, but overall arson numbers are down this year.
We’re in the midst of arson awareness week, so why do people choose to start fires?
Marc Proulx with the Winnipeg Fire and Parademic Service works with a lot of what he calls “juvenile fire setters.” He says often times the fires are started out of curiousity, but sometimes it can be a call for help.
“20 per cent are normally children in crisis. They have some kind of thing going on in their life. It could be a divorce, could be a death. Nothing gets a bigger, quick reaction time than by setting a fire. They get immediate attention.”
Proulx works with the youth and helps with their education, making sure they will follow up and get the kids help.
He also notes that needless fires occupy their crews when more important things come up.
“Let’s say an individual starts a garbage can fire. We cannot leave that scene until it is cleared. Meanwhile, we know three blocks away there is a medical call that we can be attending where somebody has had cardiac arrest and we can’t get there. Not that immediate piece of equipment. We’ll call in another one, but that response time is lengthened.”
Winnipeg Police have a number of tips to reduce the risk of arson. They include placing garbage outside in the morning of pickup day, cleaning up overgrown shrubs, making sure your house is secure, and making sure you don’t leave flammable liquids in the open.