Charleston changes how it investigates some fires

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The Charleston fire marshal has reorganized the way the city investigates suspicious fires, saying he requires much more documentation than in the past.

Mike Julazadeh has been on the job for just over a year and a half. His changes come after the June 2007 fire that killed nine firefighters and after an investigation by the Post and Courier into how the city investigated suspicious fires.

The newspaper's most recent tally shows as many 85 suspicious fires since 2002 in some downtown neighborhoods. More than half occurred before the blaze that killed the firefighters.

In 2009, after the newspaper pressed the department for information, officials said one or more serial arsonists had set as many as 50 fires since 2003.

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