The fire chief for the City of Flint is warning arsonists about the serious punishment they could face for burning down homes and buildings.
Chief David Cox Junior says the department typically sees a jump in fires during the warm summer months. Cox wants arsonists to know they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If a firefighter or anyone dies because of arson they could face homicide charges.
The chief says most of the arson fires the department extinguishes are at vacant homes and wants the publicâ??s help to put a stop to the crime.
â??If you see vacant property close to your home, just keep an eye on it for us and eventually we'll get around to getting it boarded up or torn down,â?? said Cox.
The chief thinks demolition efforts to tear down vacant buildings helps reduce the number of arsons in the city.
Residents we spoke with on the cityâ??s east side say the demolition process is not happening fast enough.
â??Knock down everything. Get with the land bank. They need to do what they need to do. Just get it out of here. If you can't fix it up then demolish it,â?? said Flint resident Cathy McCarty.
McCarty says insurance companies are not willing to cover homes in the neighborhood because of the high arson rate. The fire chief says he will have plenty of staff and help from neighboring departments to handle arson calls this summer, even though Flint lost a seven million dollar federal grant that helped fund the department.