Arson arrests increase in Tulsa

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Updated: 3/22/2013 9:04 am Published: 3/21/2013 9:28 pm

Meth can be made in many different ways but all of them have one thing in common, they include ingredients that are flammable and explosive.

In Tulsa, firefighters and people in neighborhoods all over Tulsa have witnessed meth fires time and time again.

FOX23 News obtained the number of arson investigations from the Tulsa Fire Department that include investigations, arrests, and convictions for 2011 and 2012

Meth fires often begin with explosions and spread fast, "The police were beating on my door,” said North Tulsa neighbor Nancy Robinson. "I needed to get out.”

The home next to her was on fire. Many of them happened before sunrise.

“This was like 5:30 in the morning,” said Robinson.

The fire in the home next to where Robinson lives in North Tulsa was determined to be a case of arson.

Had it not been for the quick response of Tulsa firefighters, “It would have caught my home on fire,” said Robinson.

In Tulsa, a new team of arson investigators are going after the people who start these fires and they’re arresting the offenders. They are like law enforcement who carry a badge and gun.

Tulsa Fire Department released numbers for the 2011-2012 year showing there were 523 fire investigations and 276 were arsons. The remaining investigations included 135 accidental fires, 88 undetermined and 24 other.

Some of the perpetrators are meth cooks and others are fire bugs.

Tulsa Fire reports a $3.6 million loss in arsons. They’ve also made 63 arrests, including 54 adults and nine juveniles.

There were a total of 25 convictions from the arrests resulting in 11 arson convictions, 13 meth convictions, one burglary, one malicious injury to property and 19 cases are pending. 

"It's pitiful that we have to live like this," said Robinson. 

In one case, arson investigators arrested James Porter after he was seen on surveillance camera setting a bathroom on fire at a South Tulsa ACE Hardware store. Officers report he was allegedly doing it as a distraction so he could steal chemicals to make meth. 

However, nothing is better than neighbors looking out for each other and not being scared to speak out. 

“I have to protect myself,” said Robinson. 

FOX23 News researched news archives and found the majority of arson fires happened in North Tulsa last year.

Arson is a felony. In Oklahoma, if convicted of first-degree arson offenders can serve up to 35 years in prison.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Unwashed Mass - 3/21/2013 11:12 PM
1 Vote
Since so many accidental fires were re-classified as arson, it skews the numbers and distorts the facts, so you can no longer take "arson" at face value anymore.
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