CANTON -- A string of arsons in vacant homes has prompted an urgent plea from the Canton fire chief.
In an open statement to what Fire Chief Stephen J. Rich calls vigilante arsonists, the chief makes an appeal for the fires to stop before someone gets hurt.
Canton has had five vacant house arsons since September 26. Four of the fires have been set at homes on Wells Avenue.
Below is the full text of Chief Rich's appeal:
To the person or persons setting fires in vacant houses - please stop it. Since the news of a vacant house fire on the morning of Thursday, September 26, 2012, we have had five more fires in vacant houses. This is a crime, our investigators will catch you and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I believe that the person or persons setting these fires in vacant houses thinks they are helping out. Perhaps they believe that it is a good idea if they burn a vacant house to the ground or if the house is so badly damaged by fire and then demolished the rest of the way, that they have taken care of a part of the vacant house problem. This is a bad idea. Fire is uncontrollable whether set accidentally or on purpose, and all the more uncontrollable when set in a vacant house which could be structurally compromised in various ways. What you're doing is extremely dangerous. It is going to eventually injure or kill my firefighters, innocent members of the public or you. This message is for everyone who is setting fires. Stop it now.