The City of Flint’s Fire Chief David Cox, Jr. along with Flint Police Chief James W. Tolbert are issuing a warning to potential arsonists reminding them of the possible consequences of their actions. Any injuries or deaths that result from illegal activity or the subsequent actions of public safety to address illegal activity will result in charges against the offender. Chief Cox says if any of his personnel, or any member of the public, are hurt or killed during an arson call, homicide or attempted homicide charges will be sought against the guilty person or persons. “Every time our firefighters answer a call, they are putting their lives at risk,” said Chief Cox, “if a fire is intentionally set, then that is the same as having the intention to harm our firefighters.”

Both chiefs also stressed that this punishment is enforceable should any civilians be hurt or killed due to an arson. “Even if we have a situation where a fire truck en route to an arson call gets into a car accident and someone dies as a result, anyone caught and charged with that arson will also be charged with homicide,” said Chief Tolbert.

Current laws that hold individuals accountable for the collateral damage of their actions are meant to protect the public as well as public safety employees. “Crime is a choice, arson is a choice;” said Chief Cox, “if someone makes the choice to commit arson, then they also make the choice to face the consequences for their actions.”

Both Flint police and fire department personnel work actively in the community to identify areas of heightened activity and to investigate suspicious fires. The public is asked to report any information on arson activity by calling the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee at 1-800-44-ARSON or Crimestoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. Information that leads to an arrest or conviction can result in a cash reward and callers will remain anonymous.