LANSING, Mich. — Senator Bert Johnson (D–Highland Park) today introduced legislation that would make it easier to prevent and investigate arson. Senator Rick Jones (R–Grand Ledge) was a cosponsor on the bill.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit is ranked third in the nation for arson fires. Every year there are approximately 3,000 suspicious fires in Detroit, many of which are set to collect money on insurance scams.

“We have the opportunity to get a leg up on arson investigations in our communities,” Sen. Johnson said. “Certain types of burns, especially those caused by fire accelerants, can create reasonable suspicion that a patient committed arson.”

The legislation would help prevent arson by allowing insurance companies to refuse claims payments for fire damage. Insureds would not be able to collect insurance money until they issue a report stating that they did not commit, or hire someone to commit, arson. A similar policy is in effect for vehicle fires.

The bill also will require medical professionals to report treatment of burn victims, much like those seeking treatment for knife or bullet injuries.

“By partnering with the medical community, we can help make our cities — and their structures — safer,” Sen. Johnson said.

The Detroit Fire Department fully supports the legislation.

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