Arson Squad


1h 6m 1945

Film Details

Release Date
Sep 11, 1945
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Alexander-Stern Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Producers Releasing Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 6m
Film Length
5,977ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

After a fire rages through a woolen warehouse in Los Angeles, Capt. Joe Dugan of the fire department's Arson Squad tells Bill Roberts, a rookie investigator, that the fire is one of many that he believes were set by an arsonist. When a body is found near some business records in the burning building, Joe suspects that the records may prove valuable to the investigation and sends them to the police laboratory. Though badly burned, the body of the dead man is later identified by Amos Baxter as John W. Rawlins, the head of the woolen company. Baxter, Rawlins' junior partner, tells Joe that he was able to identify Rawlins from the ring on his finger. Meanwhile, Judy Mason, Rawlins' secretary, tells Bill that her boss had been acting in a strange manner, and that he had an argument with someone on the telephone earlier in the day. Also suspecting that the fire was set by an arsonist is Tom Mitchell, the insurance salesman who wrote the policy on the Rawlins building for the Olympic Mutual Fire and Indemnity Co. Eager to prove his arson theory to his bosses, Samuel Purdy and Cyrus P. Clevenger, Tom begins his own investigation with a visit to Dugan's laboratory. There, he learns from the coroner's report that Rawlins was killed by a blunt instrument three hours before the fire began. Soon after, the arsonists, Baxter and Mike C. Crandall, the head of a rival woolen import and export company, are delighted when they learn that the blaze at Rawlins' warehouse has officially been blamed on faulty electrical wiring. Crandall, however, fears that the Rawlins fire will soon be ruled arson if the investigations carried out by Tom and Joe continue. Some time later, while eavesdropping on a telephone conversation between Baxter and Purdy, Judy discovers that Tom is investigating the fire independently, and that he lied to Baxter to get some important documents for his investigation. When the Arson Squad discovers that Rawlins' factory was filled with imitation wool when it burned down, Tom and Joe conclude that the nearly worthless material was set ablaze for a large insurance payoff. Tom then finds an invoice for a delivery of some of Crandall's fake woolens to Kellogg Knit Goods and Woolen Co. and guesses that Kellogg will be the next target in Crandall's arson scheme. Baxter, meanwhile, tells Crandall that he killed Rawlins after Rawlins found out he had embezzled money from the company. Realizing that the police will likely trace the murder to Baxter, Crandall demands that Baxter immediately pay him his share of the insurance money. A romance soon blooms between Tom and Judy, and Judy volunteers to help Tom with his investigation by spying on Baxter. Baxter eventually receives his insurance settlement, but when he attempts to flee the country, he is killed by one of Crandall's henchmen. A short time later, Tom and Joe discover Crandall and his men preparing to set Kellogg's warehouse ablaze. Following a bruising fistfight, Crandall is arrested and taken to Purdy, who is forced to confess that he was in league with Crandall all along. After revealing that he is actually an investigator for the National Board of Fire Underwriters, Tom declares the case closed and proposes to Judy.

Film Details

Release Date
Sep 11, 1945
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Alexander-Stern Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Producers Releasing Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 6m
Film Length
5,977ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, this film was made with the cooperation of the Los Angeles Fire Department. In early March 1945, Hollywood Reporter announced that David O'Brien had been cast in the picture, but that actor did not appear in the film.