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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2008 Archives > December 2008 > Mayor Brown Announces Record Number Of Arson Arrests

Mayor Brown Announces Record Number Of Arson Arrests

Office of the Mayor
Peter K. Cutler
Director of Communications

City Arson-Related Arrests Have Increased 100% since 2005; Arson Fires Decreased 24% Over Same Four-Year Period

Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced a new record for arson arrests in the City of Buffalo.  The total number of arson arrests for 2008 has reached 126, which makes an increase of 100% of arson arrests since 2005 (63 arrests).  In addition, the number of arsons in Buffalo has fallen 24% since 2005 (412 arsons in 2006 versus 313 arsons-to-date in 2008).

“Through the hard work of our Fire Marshall’s Office, we have been able to lower the number of arsons committed in our city, while at the same time increasing the number of arrests of persons responsible for those arsons,” said Mayor Brown.  “Members of our Fire Marshall’s Office are expert in analyzing and investigating suspicious fires, weapons of mass destruction and other critical cases occurring in and around the City of Buffalo.  Based on that expertise and dedication, I am pleased to report that arson fires continue to decrease in Buffalo.”
Mayor Brown, along with Fire Commissioner Michael Lombardo and Lieutenant Sal Colangelo, Commander of Buffalo’s Fire Marshall’s Office, made this announcement today at 1274 East Lovejoy, the site of a January 6, 2008 arson for hire.  Four people have been convicted of crimes related to the fire at Mr. Lovejoy’s Bar and Grill, and are scheduled for sentencing on Monday, December 15, 2008.

Leading this investigation were Fire Marshall James O’Neill, Fire Marshall Kevin Lozano and Lt. Colangelo, along with the help of Brad, the city’s fire accelerant detection canine. 

“Brad,” a male, yellow/chocolate mix Labrador Retriever is an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives-trained fire accelerant detection canine.  He was acquired through the ATF to help the City of Buffalo with arson investigations and is one of only 84 accelerant dogs in the United States trained by the ATF.

“The mission of the Buffalo Fire Department is to ensure the highest level of quality fire, EMS and specialized services to the residents of Buffalo,” said Commissioner Lombardo.  “Utilizing various methods, such as detection canines, has only helped us to increase the number of arsons we are able to solve and arrests we are able to make.”

Last November 2007, the Fire Marshall’s Office acquired a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Vehicle, which was purchased with federal Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) funds. The new CBRNE specialized vehicle is used by the Fire Investigation Unit in the processing and investigation of fire and explosion scenes (involving fire fatalities), suspicious fire related injuries, weapons of mass destruction, post blast investigations and other critical cases occurring in and around the City of Buffalo.

During 2008, the Buffalo Fire Department’s Fire Marshall’s Office personnel provided mutual aid services in Cheektowaga, Tonawanda, Amherst (Erie County) and North Tonawanda in Niagara County.

City arson/arson arrests statistics: 2005 412 arsons, 63 arrests; 2006 480 arsons, 72 arrests; 2007 435 arsons, 121 arrests; 2008 313 arsons, 126 arrests (to date).