Arson on the rise in Tulsa

Thursday, February 9th 2006, 11:14 am
By: News On 6

It's a crime that risks lives and property and costs Tulsans hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Wednesday night, another home in Tulsa was hit by arsonists. Firefighters say this crime is on the rise and they need your help to stop it.

News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin says Wednesday night’s fire started just before midnight and fire crews rushed to save the home. They kept the flames from spreading next door, then uncovered the cause.

Tulsa Fire Captain Larry Bowles: "This was a deliberately set arson fire." It's maddening for firefighters who risk their lives to protect people and homes, then learn it wasn't an accident. Some one started the fire that destroyed a house, just for fun. “It seems like almost nightly now, we're having a problem with these vacant homes or other properties, residential properties, businesses being set on fire."

The day before, another arson fire that caused $70,000 worth of damage. Investigators suspect part of a Tulsa business was torched. Crews put out the fire at Celebration Station just before 2 AM Wednesday. They think a soda machine was set on fire, possibly to cover up a theft.

Firefighters recently faced two arson fires on the same block within a week. Falling debris from a burning home injured one of the crew. The firefighter recovered, but getting hurt is a possibility never far from their minds, especially on January 22nd at one of Tulsa's biggest fires in years. The blaze at Vintage Health Quest destroyed a $2-million building. It too was arson.

Investigators say the number of arson fires we've already has this year is shocking compared to years past. Anyone with information is urged to call the arson hotline at 596-ARSN.