(Crystal A. Proxmire, 2/26/2011)
Earlier this week, Fire Marshal Brian Batten presented Ferndale resident Terry Bowlus an award of $2,000 from the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee for his testimony that led to the conviction of an arsonist. Michelle Cannon set fire to her boyfriend’s house on July 8th, 2009. The woman stacked her boyfriend’s property on his bed and lit them all on fire after a spat, according to Batten. For details on the love gone wrong, see our previous story – https://oaklandcounty115.com/2010/09/08/angry-girlfriend-arsonist-convicted/.
Batten said Bowlus had seen Cannon walking away from the house minutes before discovering the house was on fire. “His testimony was a key factor in convicting Cannon of arson of a dwelling, for which she was sentenced 20 months to 20 years,” Batten said.
This is the second award given by the MAPC in Ferndale. Earlier in the year Detective Art Schrah of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Fire Investigation Team presented a $5000.00 award to two children who testified as witnesses to a fire set by two men in Royal Oak Township, who were brothers. One was sentenced from 40 to 60 years and the other 30 to 60 years.
Batten praised the efforts of groups that reward people who testify. “The Michigan Arson Prevention Committee award program has been instrumental in helping bring arsonists to trial, leading to convictions. For those who testify against the arsonists, the MAPC awards them if the suspect is convicted. The MAPC also works with fire investigators to prevent juvenile fire setting and training for fire investigators across the State,” he said.
The Fire Marshall takes arson cases seriously. In our 2010 article, Batten said “People think that arson is a victimless crime because its property getting burned up, not people. It’s a serious crime done without any regard for all the people that are endangered by it. People loose possessions, businesses close, people get injured and killed. And when people get injured or killed it’s usually the firefighters who have to put these things out. There is no regard for the safety of the public or the firefighters. Also these situations cost us all money because of insurance claims and higher premiums, not to mention that a fire like that could spread to a neighbor’s house. If you’re mad at your boyfriend find some way to deal with it besides setting his stuff on fire.”
For more information on the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee, see their website at http://miarsonprevention.org/default.aspx.
To read more Fire Department Stories, check out our special Ferndale 115 Police and Fire Section at https://oaklandcounty115.com/category/policeandfire/.