Arson Investigation Underway

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Meridian Township fire officials are calling three fires in the Carriage Hills Complex suspicious and an arson investigation is underway, after a third fire destroyed three apartments Saturday night.

There have been three fires in three weeks in the area, all starting in a car in a garage. The fires have started on the weekends, between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. Two of the fires spread to the units behind causing more than $700,000 in damage. The other was contained, when the condo owner spotted the fire and doused it with a garden hose.

Police are increasing patrols in the area. And they are asking residents to keep an eye out for anything suspicious, as well as making sure garages and cars are secured. The Michigan Fire Marshall is assisting in the investigation. Police say they don't have any suspects yet.

Carriage Hills managers say they are looking into the situation. They're busy helping residents. Some who've lost everything in the fires.

Anyone with information can call the arson tip line at 1-800-44-ARSON.

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Arson Facts

  • Arson is the second leading cause of death by fire in the United States, exceeded only by losses due to smoking.

  • Arson is the leading cause of property damage due to fires.

  • One of every four fires that occur in the U.S. each year, about a half million, are arson.

  • Each year, more than 90 percent of all civilian deaths in incendiary and suspicious structure fires occur in residential properties.

  • Direct property damage from arson totals more than $3 billion in a typical year. One out of every four dollars lost to fire is the result of arson.

  • Only 16 percent of arson offenses lead to arrest, and only two percent of those arrested are convicted.

  • Preliminary results of a new study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggest that between one-fifth to one-fourth of reported arson cases in major American cities are drug-related.

  • Arson is the leading cause of fire in houses of worship, accounting for 25 percent of church and related property fires.

  • 53 percent of all arsons are set by youths under age 18.

Source: contributed to this report