Amarillo Arson Investigations - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Amarillo Arson Investigations

They're trying to tackle the close to 150 fires that have sparked in Amarillo this year. More than half of those are arson. NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg explains what Amarillo fire investigators are doing to find the arsonists.

The Fire Marshal relies solely on leads and witness statements to try and find those responsible. But with 12 new cases of Arson in July alone, the load starts to get heavy.

"These are complex investigations and it's a pretty high workload for those investigators," says Terry McKinney, the Amarillo Fire Marshal. 

It's a caseload that's getting larger over the years... With 2006 soaring to over 300 fires. The most notable so far this year, was the fire set at Horace Mann Middle School on Independence Day. Fire officials have yet to find the arsonists... But they haven't exhausted all their leads.

"The fact that there's lot of leads and we're following them and we feel good about that case and feel like we'll be able to get that case solved in the near future," says McKinney.

More and more McKinney says they are linking fires to other criminal activity.

"Seems like we're having a significant number of arsons related to drug activity, and whether they're mad at someone, those are all things that contribute to the number of arsons we see," says McKinney.

Other than an increasing population, it's hard to pinpoint what leads to the increase in fires... Because they can all be avoided.

"Nearly all fires are preventable other than acts of nature and god nearly all other fires we confront in society are preventable," says McKinney.

Out of 71 arsons this year... 21 cases have been cleared and 23 people have been arrested in connection with the crime.

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