East Side Neighborhood Dealing with Apparent Arson Spree

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An east Kansas City, Missouri, neighborhood is on edge after a number of vacant home fires. Neighbors say that they are fed up, but the city says it's doing all it can to make sure the empty homes don't go up in flames.

Ironically, the homes are located in the area set to become home to the Kansas City Police Department's new East Patrol Division and Crime Lab - an area bounded by 26th and 27th streets and Brooklyn and Prospect avenues.

Residents in the neighborhood say that they want the city to hurry up and buy the vacant homes and tear them down before another fire starts. But Third District councilman Jermaine Reed says it's not that simple, as the city doesn't yet own all the homes and about 10 percent of the homes are still occupied.

"We don't want to go in and start deconstructing or demolishing the entire area for people who currently live in the area now," said Reed. He says that the city and the police department are working to make sure that people aren't using the empty homes for shelter.

The Kansas City Missouri Fire Department says that there are various causes behind the fires, but add that anytime a vacant structure catches fire, arson is usually the culprit.

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