Majority of Fires Arson

There was a significant increase of Amarillo fires in 2006, almost one hundred more than the year before.

NewsChannel 10's Felicia Lafuente breaks down the Amarillo Fire Department's 2006 investigation report. 

Fire...after fire...after fire.

2006 was a busy year for Amarillo firefighters.

More than 300 fires were investigated, that's up 45% from 2005.

The majority of these fires were the result of arson.    

However, finding the person responsible for the crime is not easy.

"Essentially what you're dealing with is a crime scene that has been changed or altered prior to the investigation beginning so you have to overcome that altered crime scene plus as well as when a fire starts you have to look at all possible causes," says Amarillo Fire Department Fire Marshal Terry McKinney.

Close to 100 cases were considered accidental.

We're told there is not a specific reason for the increases.

The growth of the city, the dry weather, and some people being careless with fire all contribute to last year's numbers. 

The only trend they have seen is usually during this time of the year, they are the busiest because it is cold outside, most people head indoors and use space heaters or fireplaces, but they say that trend is over.

"Over the last few years, we are busy all year long," says McKinney.

So they ask everyone to help them  by following simple fire safety rules such as not leaving candles burning, watching where items are placed near heaters, and watching where you throw away your cigarettes.