An effort is being made to convince state lawmakers to make it easier for criminal charges to be filed for those who start fires as a result of using or producing controlled substances. Springfield Fire Chief David Pennington is spearheading the effort. Locally, Mid-County Fire Marshal Lianne Johnson says the process is, often, tedious because suspicious cases have to be referred to the state due to post-certification restrictions.
Under current state law, a felony can be filed only if the fire was caused by the person or persons responsible producing methamphetamine. The measure being pushed at the State level would allow for charges to be recommended, also, against those using other controlled substances or equipment that start a fire resulting in catastrophic damage and/or injuries.