Community combating Halloween arsonists - WNEM TV 5

Community combating Halloween arsonists

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Isiah Smith has grandchildren who like to trick or treat. 

"I don't want them to go out but it's something that they want to do," Smith said.

He fears they could deal with a fire set by someone on Halloween. For years arsonists would hit vacant houses in Saginaw on the night before Halloween and on Halloween itself. 

John Stemple is the city chief inspector.  He said the city police and fire departments will once again partner with neighborhood associations to form an arson watch on those nights.

"It causes damage, it puts human life at risk because they're battling fires, not to mention the damage it leaves in its path," Stemple said.

Volunteers of two or more will be on patrol, making sure fire bugs don't torch abandoned buildings.

The city really wants volunteers to come out and participate in the program, to make sure something like this doesn't happen in their community.

There are also things people can do if they can't go on patrol.

"We encourage all of our residents to keep their lights on, outside to create more visibility for those volunteers who are watching the neighborhoods to keep things safe," Stemple said.

And that includes keeping an eye on vacant buildings.  Residents could stand to make some money if they are vigilant.

"We will also have people going into vacant buildings to inspect those buildings, be on the lookout for us, if you do see that type of activity call 911," Stemple said. "If it is us that is going into that building we will get that caller information and bring you a 50 dollar bill."

Smith might be out on patrol, keeping his grandchildren safe from something like this.

"I'm a deacon at my church, so I try to help out as much as I can," Smith said.

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