Shelby TownshipOctober 26, 2012
Arson blazes through Shelby Township trash bins
By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer
Halloween and Devil’s Night has come early in Shelby Township as fire and police officials are investigating a string of possible arsons that occurred early Oct. 26.
Acting Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski confirmed that as many as 10 commercial trash bins were set ablaze between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. Oct. 26 along Van Dyke Avenue, between 21 Mile and 22 Mile roads.
“It happened last night, and 10 or 11 Dumpsters were set on fire,” Swinkowski said, noting that arson is a possibility.
“We’re investigating this with the police, and we’re looking at times and locations for possible patterns from the person or group of people responsible.”
Swinkowski said that an isolated incident took place about a week ago with one trash bin set ablaze, but he believes that is unrelated to the Oct. 26 fires, which were an “unusual trend” even as the calendar closes in on Halloween.
“Years ago we’d get a couple calls like this on Devil’s Night or Halloween, but it’s been quiet the last few years,” Swinkowski said. “It’s definitely been declining the last 10 years, and this is more concerning.
“This is early,” Swinkowski added about the fires likely being unrelated to holiday pranks. “Involving as many Dumpsters as last night is an unusual trend.”
“We’ve had some arson investigations in the past, but this is the first one we’ve had with multiple fires,” Police Chief Roland Woelkers said.
“Recently, this is the first case we’ve had with serial fires or an arsonist running around setting fires. We’re going to put a lot of effort into this.”
Anyone with information on the fires should contact the Shelby Township Fire Department at (586) 731-3476 or the Shelby Township Police Department at (586) 731-2121.
“If they see anything suspicious, especially in the back of businesses in the night or early morning hours, we want them to give (the police) a call, and we’ll get right out there and give that a look,” Woelkers said.
Call Staff Writer Brad D. Bates at (586) 498-1029; he’s on Twitter @ShelbyUticaNews.
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