CANTON -- Canton's Fire Chief says enough is enough as his department hasbeen called to fires at six empty homes.
Cheif Stephen Rich says the spree by "vigilante arsonists" is targeting blighted properties.
There's up to a$5,000 reward for information on these suspected arsons.
Chief Richwrote an appeal Monday: "What you're doing is extremely dangerous. It is going to eventually injure or kill my firefighters, innocent members of the public, or you...Stop it now...Maybe somebody's thinking I can help by setting them on fire. Some people are warped," Rich said in an interview.
"It's not helping. It's creating more of a problem."
Fire investigators have found signs of accelerant and other materials. Now they're looking for the people behind the flames.
"It's like a target-rich environment for arsonists," he said.
"I want it down, but I would never do anything like that. It's too dangerous anyway," said Linda Patrerson.
Three houses on Wells Avenue burned Thursday. Patterson's home next door was close to catching fire. Yet she tells Channel 3 News she's happy about what happened.
Patterson says she's talked to the city and Canton doesn't have the cash to demolish these properties, despite their conditions. She says they've made her neighborhood a hot bed for vagrants, drugs and prostitution.
"I think the city is to blame for not tearing them down," she said.
Whoever gets the blame,Chief Rich says a blaze is not the answer.
"Everybody in the city is working to get them torn down, or boarded up, and it's just not going to be fixed overnight," said Rich.
WKYC requested a copy of the demolition list. More than 350 properties are on the list. Fifty-eight of them near the top have finished paperwork, but are marked "hold for funding."
Rich says thearsonists will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
If you know anything, you're asked to contact authorities at 330-649-5903.