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Detroit Hopes To End Arson Night

October 31, 1997

DETROIT (AP) _ Shannon Moran’s grandfather didn’t want her to follow in his footsteps and become a firefighter.

But there she was early today with 40 other trainees from the Detroit Fire Department. All were eager for action on the second night of Devil’s Night, the three-day arson spree that has plagued the city in Halloweens past.

However, with 35,000 volunteers fanned out across Michigan’s largest city to make sure neighborhoods don’t burn, there haven’t been many fires to fight.

With tonight still to go, Mayor Dennis Archer said the number appeared to be fewer than last year, when 142 blazes were called in over three days. There have been several arson-related arrests.

News wasn’t as good in Flint, where firebugs were blamed for 23 blazes Thursday night, including nine house fires and three that damaged cars. Last year, however, there were 17 house fires.

``Most of them, if not all of them, were arson,″ deputy fire chief Willie Miller said of Thursday’s fires. ``I guess I have to be happy because we’ve had worse years. But it’s not over yet.″

The exact number of fires reported in Detroit will be released Saturday.

The campaign of volunteers armed with flashlights and walkie-talkies has been dubbed ``Angels’ Night″ _ and it might be working.

``It’s quieted down much more than it has been,″ said Marlon Walton, a 10-year veteran public safety officer in Highland Park, a hot spot of arson activity in past years.

The firefighters-in-training were relieved, too, if a bit disappointed. Not every class gets outside on Devil’s Night for hands-on training.

Len Frisch, a classmate of Ms. Moran, watched as firefighters extinguished one blaze. He then helped empty the water out of the hoses and stacked them on the trucks.

``We’re getting to see what it’s all about,″ he said. ``We were all looking forward to it for experience.″

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