Providence Fire Department investigates arsons

Arson investigation

Arson investigators have stepped up patrols, hoping to catch arsonists responsible for a string of recent fires in Providence.

NBC 10 rode along with investigators from the Providence Fire Department on Friday afternoon.

"A, if we can catch someone and B, if we can maybe stop some other fires," investigator Paul Doughty said. "Actually getting out there and doing some patrols, let the people in Providence know we're actively pursuing the leads that develop related to this fire."

Doughty said they've increased patrols in the afternoons, since that's when the fires happened. He said the fire department is working with Providence Police and with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to develop and vet leads and take tips from neighbors.

"Witnesses, descriptions of the suspects, and videotape as well, from home video surveillance equipment," Doughty said.

Officers are patrolling the three streets affected by the recent string of arsons - Congress, Ontario and Lexington - but also a wider area, since investigators believe the suspects may be from just outside that area.

Doughty noted that arson fires are not only eyesores but also affect property values.

"Every arson fire is really a plague on the neighborhood, especially when they end up like this," Doughty said, showing NBC 10 a burned home from an arson fire last year. "Boarded, vacant and an invitation to a lot of unsavory activities going on."

Doughty recommended that neighbors check smoke detectors to be sure they are working properly in case something like this happens near their homes. He also urged people to call the arson tip line at (401) 455-3473 or call 911 if they see anything suspicious.