Viewpoint: Arson fires must stop

Earlier this week, we reported to you that the Albany Fire Department's Arson Investigators sifted through evidence looking for clues in a vacant duplex on South Jackson Street.

Someone set fire to a couch in a back room of the duplex last Sunday. Officials say the writing on the wall was gang code.

They think this could have been done by the same gang that set fire to a house in the 300 block of Gaines Avenue in mid-August. In that case, the fire was built under the home's former heater.

Investigators suspect the fire could have been part of a gang initiation that got out of control. In both cases, the fire did little damage to the vacant home, luckily.

But arson investigators are spending too much time looking into suspected gang blazes like these.

In the last three weeks, they have investigated similar fires on East Society, East Second Avenue, North Monroe Street, and in the 1400 block of Westcliff Court.

These fires are needless, reckless, and criminal. And it's just a matter of time before someone gets badly hurt or killed.

We've been lucky that none of that has happened yet, but the gang members are pushing their luck, and the need to stop… NOW.

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