Recent church fires raising arson awareness

| May 14, 2010

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) – Authorities still aren't sure exactly what's going on or who's responsible. What they do know is somebody's setting a lot of fires around Tucson. And recently, it's been local churches that are getting torched.

Four separate church arsons dating back to April 9th. That's when Flowing Wells Baptist Church on North Romero was set ablaze. Keith Huffman is pastor of the congregation.

"Maybe it's an attack on Christianity," Huffman told KOLD. "I'm not really sure–but whoever it is definitely is reaching out because there are some problems."

Those problems could potentially get a lot worse, authorities say, especially if somebody dies.

"The mere fact that they're (the church arsons) done in a reckless disregard to the fact that there's property–you don't even know who's on that property," says Captain Chris Nanos of the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

That's why authorities are asking you to be especially vigilant right now. While kids aren't responsible for all fires, statistics show 30 percent of arsons are started by minors. With summer vacation just around the corner, arsons historically spike this time of year.

"Know your neighbors, know your neighborhood and know what's kind of usually happening around your neighborhood," says Tucson Fire spokesperson Trish Tracy. "It could make all the difference."

Had that happened Wednesday, this arson on West Elvira might have been avoided. Authorities say somebody intentionally set the fire which eventually caused about 50 thousand dollars in damages. Good news is the house was vacant and nobody got hurt. But that very well could change anytime an arsonist strikes.

"So we're trying to raise the awareness of the community, telling them to call 911 or 88 Crime to report anything suspicious that you see in your neighborhood," Tucson Fire Department's Trish Tracy says.

Captain Chris Nanos agree: "If it doesn't look right, if it doesn't sound right, if it doesn't feel right–call us."

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Category: Church Security