National

Mar 25, 2010 3:49 PM

Fires in Michigan termed "premeditated"

The mayor of Flint, Mich., says five fires on the same day the city began laying off a quarter of its firefighters is a "premeditated attack" on the community's safety.
Battalion Chief Andy Graves says suspicious fires broke out Thursday morning at four vacant homes and an empty four-story apartment building. They follow four fires at vacant homes Wednesday.

Mayor Dayne Walling has said that the city expected to lay off 23 of 88 firefighters and 46 of 150 police officers. It's part of an effort to deal with an estimated $8 million budget deficit.  A firefighters union official says the layoffs were an open invitation to arsonists.

Officials say a "person of interest" was spotted at the scene of some of the fires and is being questioned.

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