Over the past 19 months, the City of Poughkeepsie Fire and Police Departments have been investigating multiple suspicious fires in the Harrison, Grant, Bement, Winnikee and North Hamilton Street areas. To date, there have been 10 fires that all are similar in nature and confined to a concentrated area on the northside of the City.
These suspicious fires began on June 29th, 2010 on Bement Ave and have continued to date.
The similarities of all of these fires are twofold; they have all been set outside the building in the area of back porches or stairs and they are mostly concentrated in a 4 block area, centered around the Harrison Street vicinity.
Mayor Tkazyik said, “The City’s Police and Fire Departments have been working in collaboration in trying to solve these suspicious fires and insure the safety of our residents. However, we need the help of the public to stop these horrific fires that have the potential for catastrophe. I hope that someone will come forward and shed light on these cases. Lives are at stake and we are not treating these suspicious fires lightly.”
These fires, when they began, were set in vacant buildings, but have now progressed to occupied buildings. The time of day of these fires is usually late night or early AM hours.
There have been no civilian injuries or fatalities yet, however, now that these fires are being set in occupied buildings, it is only a matter of time before a tragedy could occur.
“It is of great concern to me as Chair of the City’s Common Council that innocent lives are in imminent danger. We must take immediate action to remedy this arsonist situation,” said Council Chairwoman Gwen Johnson.
With these serious issues at hand, the City Police and Fire Departments are asking for the public’s assistance and offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for these criminal acts.
“We have been working tirelessly with the City’s police department to solve these suspicious cases. We are now coming to the public to assist us in the investigation and are hoping to bring closure to this potentially devastating situation,” said Fire Chief Mark Johnson.
If anyone has information about these (or any other suspicious fires), please call our tip line at (845) 451-7577. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
“Public safety is a major concern for me,” said Fifth Ward councilmember, Ann Perry, “and I believe that by involving the public in our search for the perpetrators, more can be accomplished.”