CANTON, Ohio - It seems the raw, creative posts on Facebook by Brimfield's police chief have funneled down to Canton's fire department.
In an "appeal" letter, Canton fire chief Stephen Rich urges the "vigilante arsonists" who have been setting vacant houses on fire in recent days to stop before someone dies.
"Please stop it. Since the news of a vacant house fire on the morning of September 26, we have had five more fires in vacant houses," explained the chief. "What you're doing is extremely dangerous. It is going to eventually injure or kill my firefighters, innocent members of the public or you. Stop it now."
Rich believes those setting fires in the properties likely think they're helping out by burning vacant homes to the ground, or demolishing others "the rest of the way." But the chief warns it's a terrible 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," Rich explained. "This is a crime, our investigators will catch you and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Four vacant homes were set on fire on Wells Avenue SW, between Sixth Street and Michael Place, one on 11th Street NW, near Shorb Avenue NW, and another on Logan Avenue, close to 13th Street NW.
"We don't think necessarily they're all the same person, but they were all intentionally set and remain under investigation," said Rich.
Anyone with tips on the recent fires throughout the city can contact the fire department anonymously at (330) 489-3411.
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