On Friday morning April 22, a fire broke out at Myth Golf and Banquet Center in Oakland Township that ultimately resulted in nearly $1 million in damages, according to news reports. Police believe that two individuals are responsible for the arson fire, although no suspects have been named.
The fires are believe to have been set at around 4 in the morning. In all, a pole barn and 57 golf carts were destroyed by the blaze; investigators believe the arsonists set three separate fires, one to an area where more than 30 golf carts were parked, one to a single golf cart which was driven to a pond in the center of the course before being set on fire, and a large pole barn. The pole barn is said to have contained lawn maintenance equipments, about 25 golf carts, and numerous 55 gallon drums containing gasoline, fertilizer, oil, and other flammable materials.
According to Oakland Township Fire Chief Paul Strelchuk, there are no hydrants in the area, so crews used water from a nearby pond. Strelchuk also said that they had to put in an alarm for tankers, and that ultimately crews from seven fire departments came in to help fight the fires. These included firefighters from Addison and Bruce Townships, Washington Township, Rochester Hills, Oxford, Orion, and Rochester. HAZMAT was called in and worked to clean up flammable materials from the drums that had pooled in various areas of the pole barn, which was destroyed in the fire.
In the state of Michigan, there are three types of arson, one involving homes, one involving “other real property,” and one involving personal property. Ultimately, the state’s legal system deals with two types of arson: malicious arson, and insurance fraud. While it is not clear yet which may be the case in this situation, arson is considered a violent crime, and those found guilty punished harshly. Depending on the facts of the case, an individual convicted of arson may face up to 20 years in prison. However, if someone is killed (such as a firefighter) in an effort to put out a fire that was set maliciously, the offender may also be charged with murder.
Arson is a very serious criminal offense, regardless of which type of arson a person is accused of. If you have been arrested or are under investigation for insurance fraud or malicious arson, consult with a skilled and experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney immediately. Your freedom and future are at risk; you must have capable legal counsel in order to reach positive results, and protect your legal rights.