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Detroit Firefighters, Police Prepare For ‘Angel’s Night’

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit firefighters are getting ready to do battle with any Angels’ Night fires that may occur.

In a typical 24-hour period in Detroit, 20 to 30 fires are reported, but the night before Halloween sees a dramatic rise.  Last year, 169 fires were reported; 119 the year before.

WWJ’s Pat Sweeting reports that the hope this year is to see that number drop with the help of volunteers who will patrol streets and keep an eye on vacant buildings, alerting police to any suspicious activity.

Executive Fire Commissioner Donald Austin said they’re also getting some help to bring fires under control more quickly.

“It’s a Class A foam that we’re going to use at a point-one or point-two percent mixture in our tanks, and it will help extinguish the fires a lot faster.

Austin said the foam had been in use previously in Detroit but was discontinued due to cost. He hopes to change that.

Detroit Police say they will be out in full force that night, in both marked and unmarked cars, looking potential arsonists as well as curfew violators.

“Our job is to keep the city and, ultimately, the citizens and the visitors safe,” said Deputy Police Chief James Tolbert.

Tolbert says parents who allow their child to venture out past curfew will be ticketed, and could face 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The emergency curfew will be in effect for youth ages 17 and under from 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 to 6 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30 and from 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30 to 6 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31.

During that time, kids are not allowed to be on any public street, sidewalk, alley, park, playground, vacant lot or any other unsupervised outdoor public place, or in any arcade, billiard or pool hall, bowling alley, restaurant, theater, or place of amusement or entertainment, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Meantime, volunteers are still being sought to participate in Angels’ Night patrols.  Last year, about 60,000 citizens helped out.  Angels’ Night is a Detroit tradition aimed at curtailing the violence and arson that plagued the city for years on the night before Halloween by enacting teams of volunteers to patrol city streets. It had previously been known as Devils’ Night.

The first Angels’ Night was created in 1995 after the city drew national attention for an estimated 300 Devils’ Night fires in 1994. 

Get more information on Angel’s Night, including how you can help, at this link.

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