Hilliard Northwest News

Children who play with fire are subjects of local conference


Firefighters and police officers from several Ohio agencies last week received training to identify and treat at-risk juveniles who start fires.

About 70 firefighters, police officers, corrections and probations officers, school counselors and others attended an April 11 conference held by the Central Ohio Juvenile Fire Setters Educators at the Norwich Township Joint Safety Services Building.

The central Ohio group meets once a month for continuing discussion of how to identify and counsel juvenile arsonists, but last week annual’s conference provided an opportunity to further train its own members and reach a wider audience, said Norwich Township firefighter Scott Tigner, chairman of the central Ohio organization.

Norwich Township has hosted the annual conference for the past three years.

“The objective of the conference is to train the people who work with juveniles who start fires,” Tigner said.

The course also strives to help identify motives for at-risk juveniles and the likelihood they will commit other crimes, Tigner said.

California resident Laura Billon, a certified fire investigator with a master’s degree in forensic science, was the guest speaker at the conference.

Billon discussed how to identify verbal and nonverbal indicators to help counselors and fire service personnel with cases.

Firefighters and other officials from Canton, Cincinnati, Painesville, Parma, Shelby, Sylvania Township and other municipalities attended the conference.