Partnership to Reduce Arson Fires in Niagara Region

Partnership to Reduce Arson Fires in Niagara Region
Greater emphasis placed on information sharing and prosecution

February 21, 2012

A partnership agreement between the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM), the Niagara Regional Police Service and the Fire Services of the Region of Niagara was signed today to reduce arson fires in Niagara Region and improve public safety. The agreement clarifies the respective roles and responsibilities when all three partners are involved in fire/explosion investigations. Some of the key highlights include:

  • Promote the identification and preservation of evidence for documentation at suspicious and criminal fire scenes.
  • Create a database to track fires and help identify patterns such as serial arsons, potential fire crimes and/or fire safety issues.
  • Municipal fire departments shall ensure that vacant buildings will be secured from further fires and inhabitation.
  • Streamline the sharing of reports and information between all three partners.

Quotes

“The Office of the Fire Marshal is proud to be a part of this arson prevention partnership agreement in Niagara Region. The partnership will enhance public safety by targeting those who intentionally put the public and emergency responders at risk.”
-- Ted Wieclawek, Ontario Fire Marshal

“The Niagara Regional Police Service is proud to partner with area fire departments and the Office of the Fire Marshal. This partnership will assist in communication between partners and the criminal prosecution of offenders.”
-- Joe Matthews, Deputy Chief, Niagara Regional Police Service

“This unique partnership reinforces the ability of three levels of government agencies to work collaboratively to create an effective and efficient service delivery model to serve and protect “one taxpayer”. The Niagara Regional Fire Chiefs Association congratulates the efforts of the Arson Niagara Committee for serving as the driving force behind this initiative.”
-- Michael Cain, Grimsby Fire Chief and Niagara Region Fire Chiefs Association representative

Quick Facts

Provincial data indicate that between August 2009 and August 2010, the OFM investigated approximately 600 incidents. OFM investigators determined arson to be the cause in 43 per cent of these incidents. Criminal charges have been laid in 82 cases while public fire safety issues have been identified in another 66 cases.

Contacts

  • Carol Gravelle, Office of the Fire Marshal, 416 325-3138