How arson remains a serious problem

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Adam K. Thiel Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

How arson remains a serious problem

Fire is not always viewed by the public with the same concern as other crimes

Editor's note: With a ninth arson being reported in a Va. neighborhood this week, Editorial Advisor Adam K. Thiel takes a look at the issues deliberately-set fires create.

Although it is probably not high on the list of crimes that make the nightly news, compared to the latest celebrity hijinks, arson remains a serious problem in the United States.

Arson fires range from the severity of those reported in this story, to major blazes where arson-for-profit is suspected.

As the nation's economic woes continue, particularly surrounding the residential and commercial real estate markets, many fire departments are concerned that arson fires in their communities will start trending upward, if they haven't already done so.

Unfortunately, arson is difficult to identify, prove, and sustain in a court of law.

Fire is also not always viewed by the public with the same concern as other crimes, despite its damaging effects on lives and property.

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) maintains a dedicated arson website with a variety of resources and reports: www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/subjects/arson/.

About the author

With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel — FireRescue1's editorial advisor — is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.



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