Arson cases in Spokane double from last year

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Fire Department is noticing an alarming trend. Arson around the city has increased 100 percent.

In June 2019, firefighters had responded to 20 arson related fires. This June, that number is 40.

“That is a remarkable increase and something we don’t normally see,” said Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.

Fire crews have put out 100 fires around the city since the start of 2020, meaning 40 percent were started intentionally.

Schaeffer said accidental fires are also up, roughly 15 percent. He thinks there’s a reason behind that.

“We’re seeing a lot of people staying home as they should, but that also leads to a possibility for a fire problem,” Schaeffer said. “People are cooking at home.”

It’s easy for kids to get bored, especially when they are home alone. Schaeffer says parents need to teach fire safety.

“It’s hard to keep kids busy and kids normally have a fascination with fire. It’s good to talk to kids early about the dangers of fire and simply be transparent and honest just how dangerous it can be.”

The Spokane Fire Department offers a program for kids and teens who may have an unhealthy interest in fire. Families can call (509)-625-7000 and ask for the community reduction specialist.

Schaeffer said it’s also important to keep boxes or trash away from your home or business. Doing that could prevent an accidental fire, or an arsonist.

“That’s an opportunity for an arsonist to use that combustible material and with very little effort, make a huge impact.”