Westfield Insurance donates $20,000 of equipment to arson unitWritten by Amy Biolchini | | ABiolchini@toledofreepress.com
The Toledo Fire Department’s Investigating Unit will receive $20,000 of equipment from Westfield Insurance in an effort to combat the number of arson fires in Toledo.
Local insurance representatives and the Ohio Department of Insurance have been in talks with Westfield and the fire department after a reported increase in arsons.
Steve Jarrett, a special investigative unit leader at Westfield, said the company donated to other regions in the past because it believed there was a need to be involved in the community.
“In the Toledo area, back in last year, we started to realize that there seemed to be an increase with fires in vacant homes. We met with the fire chief and he expressed concerns with the equipment,” Jarrett said.
“We were putting Band-Aids on our equipment to keep it up and running,” Deputy Chief Philip Cervantes said. “It was a mutual agreement. If what we do even helps solve one of their issues; it’s a chunk of money. This is savings. For us, it could mean life or death if we get one arsonist off the street. It really gives arson investigation a step up in terms of timeliness.”
Westfield will present the donation 4 p.m. Nov. 9 at One Government Center, Suite 2120, prior to the City Council meeting. Westfield’s donation consists of three Nikon D5000 cameras, three Panasonic Toughbooks 30s, three sets of evidence markers, a Canon Mini DVD camcorder, an HP Photosmart C5500 scanner and two TLV Sniffers that monitor flammable gas vapors.
Much of the equipment used by the arson unit is subject to harsh conditions at the scene of the fire and doesn’t last very long, Cervantes said. The expense and lack of equipment was becoming an issue and hindering the investigative process.
Tags: Toledo Fire Department