Youth firesetting conference held in Hadley

The conference is on Tuesday and Wednesday

HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Emergency workers from across the Commonwealth met in Hampshire County on Tuesday to discuss the issue of kids setting fires. The event was sponsored by the Northwestern DA’s Office and the Northwestern Fire Intervention, Response, Education and Safety Partnership or NO FIRES for short.

The U.S. Fire Administration says that people under the age of 18 are responsible for more than half of all intentional fires set in the nation. “People don’t see it as a significant problem until it grows to a point where we have to intervene,” State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey told 22News. “There’s a little bit of complacency in that regard.”

Firefighters, police, mental health providers, and prosecutors met at the Hadley Farms Meeting House to discuss training on identifying, intervening and dealing with young people that set fires. Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan explained that “the whole idea is to educate our law enforcement, our firefighters how to properly investigate but also intervene at the right time and make referrals so they can get the right help.”

“We’re able to screen kids that have set fires,” executive director Loren Davine said. When a child who has started a fire is identified, she says the program “works with their families, educate them on the seriousness of fire safety, and make sure they have the information they need to prevent future fires.”

There will be a live burn demonstration at 1:00 p.m. for the conference on Wednesday.