Arsons on the rise

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - State fire officials say arsons are on the rise across the Commonwealth. Just in the past couple of weeks, several barns have burned across Harrison and Nicholas Counties in apparent arsons.

"I'm not sure what goes on in somebody's mind. It's obvious they're being set on fire. It's not just something that pops up," said Tyler Downs as he watched his barn burn.

State Fire Marshal William Swope said fire departments have asked for his assistance in about 300 cases this years, about a quarter of which have turned out to be arson investigations.

"The majority of the arson that we are seeing across the Commonwealth would fall into the criminal mischief category," said Swope.

Investigators with the Lexington Fire Department said their numbers are up as well with ten more arsons reported so far this year than in all of 2011.

"What we're seeing an increase in is arsons to occupied buildings. We've already had 28 reported this year. Last year, we had a total of 18," said Major Mark Blankenship, a fire investigator with the Lexington Fire Department.

Nuisance fires so far in 2012 rocketed past the numbers in both 2010 and 2011, due in large part, investigators say, to the fiery Final Four celebrations earlier this year. Fire investigators say to keep your home safe, you should be aware of its surroundings.

"You've got to be vigilant with what you've got outside. Don't leave gas cans stored outside. Don't give someone an opportunity to make your property a crime of convenience," said Blankenship.

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