Oakland officials launch arson tip line, reward fund

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland city officials are launching a new tip line and reward fund for information leading to arson arrests.

Mayor Libby Schaaf, along with the Oakland Fire Department and Jobs & Housing Coalition, released more details during a press conference Monday morning.

The fund is financed entirely by members of the Jobs & Housing Coalition, and will serve as an incentive for individuals to come forward with information on fires that have occurred at construction sites. It also aims to encourage the reporting of information about potential destructive acts that could harm or delay other development projects in progress across the city.

This announcement comes shortly after the one year anniversary of the Broadway-Valdez fire, which occurred on July 7, 2017.

Federal investigators announced in August 2017 that the cause of that construction site fire was "undetermined" despite its similarities to other East Bay arson blazes, according to a statement from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The amount offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist in any construction fire in Oakland will now be $300,000. Gregory McConnell of the Jobs and Housing Coalition says they hope that by offering this large sum of money, it will a encourage a person with information to come forward.

At Monday's press conference, the city reminded everyone of the Fire Department's tip line, which is 510-238-4031.

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