Tag Archives: Arson

Burned: A Photo Essay on Arson in Toledo

Above photo by Sam Ricker

Editor’s note: The following photo essay come from Lori King’s photojournalism students at Owens Community College. Click here to view their photo essay.


Above photo by Lynn Redding

Burned: The Rust Belt on fire

A photo story by the Intro to Photojournalism class at Owens Community College
By Lynn Redding and Miranda Molyet

Arson is the leading cause of fires in the United States, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Of these fires, 30 percent are in structures, including homes. Fire officials estimate that 50 percent of all fires may be intentionally set, yet it is difficult to determine the actual number of arson fires because many of them go unreported.

The FBI estimates that four out of the top 10 cities in the United States for arson crimes reported are in Ohio. The fourth spot on the list is right here, in Toledo. The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal reported that the six common motives for arson are: excitement, vandalism, crime concealment, revenge, extremist/terrorist and profit.

For our team community service photo story project, the Introduction to Photojournalism class at Owens Community College visited a few arson fire sites in the Central Toledo area.

Why should we, as a community, care about arson and its impact on the Rust Belt?

Arson is a felony crime. It is a crime against people, and every year firefighters are killed in responding to open-air fires. Then there is the cost of the fires, including the cost of supplies to fight the fires, the value of the property destroyed, the loss of tax revenue, and the fact that firefighters must be paid. In spite of the fact that arson is a crime, the real reason we should care about the growing arson problem in the Rust Belt is the fact that while firefighters are away battling an intentional and needless fire, they cannot respond in the event a real emergency should arise. The cost of arson is more than money; it is putting lives at risk.

To learn more about  Lori’s class and their work, check out the class blog here.

Above photo by Paula Taylor

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Economic Development, Featured, The Big Urban Photography Project, The Media, Urban Poverty

Abandoned Buildings: Ticking Time Bombs?

For the second time in months, an abandoned building has exploded in the city of Cleveland, injuring nearly one dozen people.

Yesterday, an abandoned convenience store on the city’s southeast side, exploded injuring 11 people. The force of the explosion, according to local media, could be felt for 2 miles.

In Janurary, a home exploded on the west side that damaged 55 homes and displaced 15 families. Police have since charged a neighbor with arson.


As a Cleveland resident, I have to say, this is a very concerning trend. I wonder, are other cities experiencing this? Will this help draw needed attention to the issue of vacant and abandoned property? How long before one of these becomes a real tragedy and a child is killed?



Filed under Featured

A High Profile Arson in Youngstown

The city of Youngstown is experiencing another arson spree, this time though the crime is personal for many city activists.

A historic mansion in the Wick park neighborhood was burned a few weeks ago, according to the Youngstown Renaissance blog.





Instances of Arson are familiar in the city, however, many city boosters are outraged because there was talk of renovating the particular house and the Wick Park neighborhood is the site of an ongoing revitalization campaign that is seen as crucial to stabilizing downtown and Youngstown State University area.

The fire was part of a series of arsons that police believe are related.

Check out Youngstown Renaissance for all the details.



Filed under architecture, Crime, Featured