MEDIA CONTACT INFORMATION
Jill Bronaugh
Communication Manager
Office of the State Fire Marshal
800 SW Jackson, Suite 104
Topeka, KS 66612-1216
785-296-3403
jill.bronaugh@ks.gov
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Press Releases

Fire Marshal Focuses on Preventing Residential Arson in Arson Awareness Week

User Not Found | May 13, 2013
The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) in Kansas joins the United States Fire Administration (USFA) in dedicating the week of May 5-11 as Arson Awareness Week. The purpose for this week is the recognition, awareness and understanding of one of our nation’s most dangerous and costly threats to people and property – arson.

TOPEKA - May 6, 2013 - The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) in Kansas joins the United States Fire Administration (USFA) in dedicating the week of May 5-11 as Arson Awareness Week. The purpose for this week is the recognition, awareness and understanding of one of our nation’s most dangerous and costly threats to people and property – arson.

The theme for this year’s Arson Awareness Week is “Reducing Residential Arson.” The goal of this year’s campaign is to provide residents with strategies to combat arson in their neighborhoods.

According to the USFA, there are more than 16,000 intentionally set fires in homes across the United States each year. These fires result in an estimated 300 deaths, 700 injuries and $500 million in direct property damage. In Kansas, 127 arsons were reported to the OSFM from local certified fire investigators in 2012, and an additional 87 cases were investigated by OSFM staff – including three fatalities and two injuries.

Arson is defined as the malicious burning of another’s occupied home or property. This type of illegal activity robs communities of valuable assets, lives and property. It can devastate a community, resulting in the decline of the neighborhood through increased insurance premiums, loss of business revenue and a decrease in property values.

What are some of the motivating factors associated with arson?

  • Curiosity - A misuse of fire that is most often associated with juveniles.
  • Vandalism – Malicious mischief that may be associated with boredom, peer pressure, or even gang activity.
  • Concealing another Crime – Misuse of fire used to mask another crime such as burglary, larceny or murder.
  • Excitement – Most of these fires are nuisance fires but can escalate to home fires.
  • Revenge – The setting of a fire in retaliation for an actual or perceived injustice.
  • Insurance Fraud/Arson for Profit – A criminal method of obtaining money from a fire loss policy.

To reduce the opportunity for arson in your neighborhood, citizens are encouraged to illuminate the exterior and entrances of their homes, clear obstructions such as bushes or shrubbery, keep doors and windows locked, clean around the home including raking leaves and removing trash, as well as securing abandoned and vacant homes. For more arson prevention tips, visit the OSFM website.