To reduce debt and satisfy numerous investors, Cygnus Business Media, the parent company of Firehouse® Magazine and 58 other magazines, 45 websites and 40 industry conferences, recently entered and then emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company is now in a better financial position than before. Firehouse® continues to lead the company in advertising sales and is one of very few paid-subscription-based magazines in the company's portfolio.
To stop any rumors of our demise and to set the record straight, I am taking this opportunity to explain our current position.
We will continue to produce and serve our industry through Firehouse® Magazine, Firehouse.com, which is visited by over 620,000 people each month, and our three Firehouse shows - Firehouse Expo in Baltimore, which just completed its 26th annual show; Firehouse World in San Diego, which marks its ninth show in February; and Firehouse Central, which takes place in Atlanta this month and in Dallas in 2010.
Firehouse® Magazine, for more than 30 years, and Firehouse.com, for over 10 years, have brought and will continue to bring you the latest major fire news stories, action photos, monthly columns on a wide range of fire service topics, and the latest in apparatus, technologies and new products for you to review. We have championed firefighter safety and reducing line-of-duty deaths in every issue. We will continue to provide you with all the features you have come to expect, and we are developing new and interesting features regarding the latest in safely mitigating fires and emergencies.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of our demise are quite premature.
On a sad note, C. Peter Jorgensen died at his home in Tunbridge, VT, on Sept. 25 at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer. Mr. Jorgensen was the publisher and editor of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment magazine, a national publication that focused on fire apparatus and the gear and equipment that is used by firefighters, which he started in 1996. He served on the Fire and Emergency Manufacturers and Services Association (FEMSA) Board of Directors from 1998 to 2001. He also was formerly a nationally certified EMT with First Branch Ambulance & Rescue in Chelsea, VT, and a member of the Tunbridge Volunteer Fire Department. We extend our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
Some unbelievable figures were recently received from Detroit and throughout Michigan. One recent Sunday evening, there were 11 arson fires in Detroit in a 90-minute period within the same neighborhood. In Detroit in 2008, there were 6,486 suspicious fires investigated compared to 5,074 in 2004, a 27.8% increase. That comes to 18 suspicious fires a day. Suspicious fires in the state of Michigan jumped 50% from 2006 to 2008, to about 13 a day. Of the state's 83 counties, 70 reported increases in arson. There are about 101,000 vacant housing units in Detroit today, double from the year 2000. When I covered Devil's Night in 1984, with 810 fires in a three-day period, there were an estimated 5,000 vacant buildings in the city. The city has a 28% unemployment rate and the area leads the nation in home foreclosures. Several insurance companies and local businesses are working to fund two special investigators and a specific prosecutor to stem the tide of arson. It seems like it is the right idea, but they may be shoveling against the tide.
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