Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mansfield, Ohio- Arson to The Core

The series of arson related fires in Mansfield, Ohio between June of 2012 and January 2013 may have ended. We've had a couple of deliberate fires  involving an open structure being built and another; but those arsons don’t appear to be related to the previous series of fires.

When I last updated this story one “suspect” was being sent to prison on a previous burglary charge and the other “suspect” was being held pending charges. While both suspects were being held; arsons #48 and #49 were committed on the same evening. Neither man was formerly charged. The local newspaper hasn’t released any further information.
The FEMA Grant (of $2.1 million dollars) was accepted by the City of Mansfield to compensate the hiring of 15 firefighters for two years. One would assume the grant money was used (11 Firefighters were hired) based on it wouldn’t come back to embarrass the city. It wouldn’t look good if the culprits were connected to an inside conspiracy group to win the grant.
I still believe the fires were/are somehow tied to an organization, group or someone(s) seeking a job. When I spoke to someone in the know of the situation I was told: “You better watch out, you’re going to upset the Good Ole’ Boys Club.” That doesn’t bother me. I have a security system.
Many organizations in Mansfield are intertwined with cronyism, so anything is possible.
I suspect the usual pattern will unfold of never hearing another word about the arson cases. It will be as if it never happened. Grant money will somehow be sought to tear down the burnt-out homes and buildings; so some will benefit. Sometime down the road a favor will be repaid here and there.
After I questioned why officials hadn’t attempted to have community meetings with the neighborhoods affected by the acts of arsons; the Firefighters Union announced the plan. I don’t recall seeing anything further mentioned concerning neighborhood meetings. The Union offered an additional $1,000.00 reward to the original $5,000.00 reward and no one spoke-up.
We’ve become historically accustomed to this scenario. In Mansfield, Ohio it’s accepted fear by the citizens and the same bullying behavior from those with power. The names may have changed over time but the game is the same vein of corruption.

Comedian Bill Cosby once referred to our city as “Little Chicago” after driving up Main Street on his way to a performance at our local theater. While we no longer have our Main Street lined with bars, the city is surrounded by the decay of empty storefronts and boarded-up homes. Chicago actually burned to the ground in 1871 and many citizens in Richland County feel lighting a fire would be an improvement.

The gist of their message is not to burn homes or property; what they truly seek is to rid our community of its corruption. When you have the magnitude of 49 acts of arson in 6 months, it’s a matter of following the money.  Ironically, that never seems to happen!
  Note: I originally wrote this blog 5 days before posting the story and (surprise) the money is available to tear down homes. Interestingly, St. Peters Parish area (including the Glessner Avenue area) is mentioned. It appears some organizations may want the houses razed to purchase the land cheaply and possibly expand? Stay tuned.

Until We Meet Again,
 Jim Carver
Author: The Legacy of David A. Wells- The Lexington High School “Band of Gold”
Something Meaningful that Matters!

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  1. Good job! Keep asking the questions they are responsible to answer.

    1. Thank you! I appreciate your support. Jim

  2. jim i was there when Bill Cosby said that what a boring show

    but he was right

  3. Bruce- Thanks for chiming in. I didn't know you were at the show. I wasn't, but he was dead-on and it still is! Thanks for your comment! Jim Carver