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Thursday, August 21 2014

Columbia Gas Donates $5K to NoFIRES Program

Adapted from a Northwestern District Attorney’s Office press release:

National and Massachusetts statistics show that arson is the number one crime committed by juveniles, who set approximately 250,000 fires per year.  In 2012, the Northwestern District Attorney’s (NWDA) Office worked with fire and law enforcement officials, mental healthcare providers, and social service agencies to develop the Northwestern Juvenile Fire Intervention Response, Education, and Safety Partnership (NoFIRES), a non-profit organization that offers education and intervention to youth fire setters aged 5-17 years old.

NoFIRES expanded in 2013, to serve 51 communities located in Franklin County, Hampshire county, the North Quabbin Region, and the City of Holyoke.  In the 18 months the program has been in operation, NoFIRES has received more than 85 referrals to the program.

On Friday, August 15th, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts donated $5,000 to the NoFIRES program to support this important work.  “We’re grateful for the support from Columbia Gas,”  Granby Fire Chief Russ Anderson, former president of the NoFIRES Board of Directors, said. “This donation will directly benefit those kids that need fire education.”

“These funds will be used to conduct in-home screenings and offer our fire safety education course to young people with fire-setting behaviors,” Loren Davine, executive director of NoFIRES, said.

At this time, NoFIRES is one of the only programs, statewide, available for juveniles that have engaged in fire-related behavior.  In addition to providing fire safety education to juveniles that have engaged in fire setting, NoFIRES is committed to providing high-quality trainings in this field to educators, clinicians, and law enforcement. In 2013, NoFIRES sponsored several trainings including the first annual Arson Investigation and Prosecution Conference which was attended by more than 200 police and fire investigators from around the state.