Humboldt Bay Fire responds to increasing number of structure fires, arson in 2017

EUREKA – Humboldt Bay Fire reports the third consecutive year of increased calls for service.
Humboldt Bay Fire engines responded to more than 6,900 calls in 2017. That’s up from 6,300 in 2016 nearly a 10% increase in one year.
Structure fires rose from 58 to 65. The department estimates that those incidents combined with vehicle and vegetation fires led to nearly $4 million in property damage.
In addition to taxing the department’s resources, insurance premiums often rise with the number of calls, so even those who haven’t had an emergency might still pay for it.
Battalion Chief Chris Emmons said it’s difficult to pinpoint what’s driving the increase. He highlighted socioeconomic factors and a rise in drug use that requires more medical responses.
But it’s not just medical calls that are multiplying. Intentionally set fires also rose 10%.
“The only way we’re going to combat that is through education, getting out and having our prevention talking to the public and conducting investigation and working with our law enforcement partners,” Emmons said. He continued, “We know how dangerous fire is. It’s one of those things that not only is it property destruction but it’s a threat to the community and to lives. the numbers are up and we’re going to have to do something about it.”
Emmons said 2018 started off just as busy. The department responded to 36 calls in one 24 hour period.