Ill. fire officials aim to reduce arson by youth

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Beginning Sunday, fire officials in Illinois will hold a week of events to educate children and teens about the dangers of mishandling matches, candles and other flammable objects.

Part of a nationwide program, the effort is aimed at reducing incidents of arson involving youths. Such fires are blamed for around 300 deaths and more than $1 billion in property loss each year across the country.

State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis says parents, teachers and neighbors need to play an active role in reducing the number of arson fires by watching for warning signs among children and teens.

In Illinois, juveniles were associated with 43 arson fires statewide last year.

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