St. Louis dealing with increase in vacant building fires
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis officials have been investigating a recent increase in the number of fires reported at vacant buildings.
The city says dozens of its 7,000 vacant and abandoned buildings have caught fire at a frequency not seen in recent years. St. Louis Fire Department figures show that from January to the end of July there have been 148 fires in vacant buildings.
St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that about 46 percent of structural fires this year have been in vacant buildings.
The department considers these fires a priority and is investigating possible causes.
Frank Oswald, the city's building commissioner, says in order to prevent these fires the city boards up vacant buildings and also asks neighbors to watch for suspicious activity.