YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — For the second year in a row in 2020, Youngstown firefighters saw a small increase in the number of arsons they responded to.
The department handled 124 total arsons for the city last year, an increase of 18 arsons over 2019.
Of those arsons, 77 were houses while the rest were vehicles or classified as buildings, according to statistics released by the city fire department.
Of those arsons, 78 were on the South Side, the most of any part of town. The South Side also had the most arsons in 2019, with 47.
In 2018, the city handled 93 arsons.
For a department that once handled over 300 arsons a year, city Fire Investigator Capt. Kurt Wright called the increase a small one, comparable to the increase Youngstown saw in 2019.
The busiest months were July, August and September, which saw 23, 13 and 16 arsons, respectively.
City leaders have credited a decrease in population and an increase in the number of vacant houses demolished for cutting down on the number of arsons over the year.
For January 2021, there only four fires, an increase of one over January 2020.
There was one fire death in 2020, a man who was found in July shot to death in a burning car on the East Side.