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Residents start patrols after another fire set

Date Posted: 2009-05-14

A 13th fire in Urasoe City in less than a month has triggered concern among citizens, sending one residents association to start its own neighborhood patrolling.

The latest fire occurred in Urasoe City’s Yafuso district shortly before midnight Sunday. No injuries were reported in the latest incident, but residents are becoming afraid. A fire in the same neighborhood a week earlier claimed the lives of two people, a mother and her son. Three other fires—a car, a tent and a banner—took place in the 24 hours before the fatal residential fire.

Police believe the fires to be the work of an arsonist. The fire causing fatalities was tipped to authorities by an anonymous telephone call. The latest fire was the 13th to be investigated within the past 30 days. Fire officials say there was no rationale for the latest fire, which occurred in a location without combustible material to accidentally start. Police and firefighters are warning residents to be on the lookout for suspicious activities.

The Yafuso Area Residents Association has begun its own nighttime patrols of the neighborhood. For the past week, a 20-person group has been working in two teams to check dark areas, vacant homes and open areas. They’re looking for any unusual or unexpected materials that have appeared on local property. The Association is calling upon the Parent Teacher Association to join the patrols project.

Association leaders are appealing to residents to keep lights burning outside homes to make observation of suspicious activity a little easier. They’re concerned that the neighborhoods, with narrow streets, could be more vulnerable in case of more fires because fire engines cannot maneuver down those streets to fight the fire.

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