By Jason A. Smith
The Henry County Fire Department is partnering with a McDonough insurance agency, to emphasize the dangers of fire-setting.
Allstate Insurance Agency Owner Tremelle Moore has joined forces with the fire department's Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program. Moore owns an Allstate agency at Ga. Highway 81 and Old Jackson Road, in McDonough.
He recently donated a 27-inch television to the department, which will be used in its fire-safety-education endeavors.
The Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program is working with eight Henry County youths, according to a written statement issued by the fire department Thursday.
"Some of the firesetters are referred to the fire department through Juvenile Justice, and some are walk-ins to the fire stations," the statement says. "In 2009, the [damage] from juvenile fire-setting activity in Henry County was over $300,000."
Moore said blazes set by children are on the rise, causing problems for area homeowners. Reasons for those fires, he added, include children's curiosity about fire, and kids "lashing out" against others.
"Homeowners are having to file claims, not only for their homes, but also their personal belongings," he said.
Henry Fire Capt. Sabrina Puckett said the fire department's program for teaching kids is an important component of the agency's service to the community.
"These children need to gain an understanding of why their fire-setting behavior is inappropriate, and the potential fatal outcomes that could come from future fire-setting activity," Puckett said.
In her agency's statement, Puckett underscored the need for area residents to notify authorities about potential fire dangers in their communities.
"[The] Henry County Fire Department would like to remind citizens to report anything that appears remotely suspicious, including any suspicious persons in your neighborhood," Puckett said. "Reports can be made by calling 911, or for anonymous calls, 1-800-282-5804."