Firefighters advising public to be on the lookout for potential acts of arson

Firefighters advising public to be on the lookout for potential acts of arson

YAKIMA, WA — Blackened wood and burnt furniture. It’s all that remains from a garage on the 300 block of South Seventh Street. It caught fire Sunday evening — and firefighters believe it wasn’t accidental.

“We’ve got investigators that are still looking into cause and origin,” said Yakima Fire Captain Jeff Pfaff.

As the weather turns towards summer, firefighters say potential acts of arson could become more common in alleyways and abandoned homes.

“In a couple weeks, kids getting out of school, we tend to have a little more fire activity with kids out of school,” said Pfaff.

And that has neighbors concerned about the safety of their homes.

“They should have more cops out at night, patrolling the neighborhood,” said Tanya Keffer, “That would make me sleep good at night.”

Last year, firefighters reported 18 intentionally lit fires during the summer — and in April of 2014, at least seven acts of arson in a single neighborhood. Much of those fires took place in alleyways behind homes, starting from debris and spreading to nearby buildings. While not everyone can keep an eye out on their backyard, firefighters say you can take a few simple steps to fireproof it.

“Try to make sure all the weeds are kept low,” added Pfaff, “Keep the garbage away from the edge of the buildings, try to keep things well-lit, and just try to be vigilant and paying attention to yourself and your neighbors.”