BCFD worried about string of vacant house fires

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A rash of fires at vacant houses in Battle Creek has the fire chief asking for the public’s help to track down the arsonists.

Fires have been set at six houses this past month, including one Sunday on Wilkes Avenue. No one has been injured.

“Having a rash of six over the course of four weeks is significantly more than what we’ve dealt with,” Battle Creek Fire Department Chief Brian Sturdivant told News 8 Tuesday. “It is a significant cause of concern.”

Four of the six fires were set on Sept. 10. Investigators are still working to determine if they are connected.

“We had two come in within minutes of one another about 2 o’clock in the morning, and then a couple hours later, we had two more come in within a few minutes of one another around 4 o’clock in the morning,” Sturdivant said.

He said the fires put his staff and the entire community in danger.

“It taxes the resources in the event there are true emergencies that are taking place in the system,” Sturdivant said.

  • vacant house fires in Battle Creek
  • vacant house fires in Battle Creek

>>App users: Photos of the burned houses

On Tuesday, Battle Creek had 422 registered vacant properties. The number changes on a daily basis as new properties are added and others are removed. The city has a total of approximately 21,000 residential and commercial properties.

Tyler Fuller mows lawns at vacant properties for banks and says he is seeing a lot of destruction.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of them around the area that are like this and I can tell the neighbors are getting sick of it,” Fuller said.

If you have any information that can help investigators, contact the Battle Creek Police Department at 269.966.3322 or Silent Observer at 269.964.3888.

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