Motivated Arson Incidents Essay

Motivated Arson Incidents Essay

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Thousands of fires occur on a yearly basis throughout the United States. Whether it is forest fires, house fires, or any other event that involves uncontrollable flames, the outcome will always be the same; high amounts of destruction and physical damage. When fire emergencies occur, responding to the incident may not be much of a complication as apposed to determining the source from where the fire started or what triggered its behavior, which is truly the challenge. In order to do so, a fire investigator has to be present at the scene of the fire after it has been eliminated. The investigator, after reviewing any possible marks or behavior trails, will conclude if the incident was indeed an accident or intentional, thus making it an act of arson. According to the U.S. Fire Administration Topical Fire Research Series, “Arson is the leading cause of fires (267,000 annually) in the United States” (usfa.fema.gov). Arson cases are very complex due to the fact that it can be committed virtually anywhere and by anyone, including fire responders as well. The motives behind arson incidents can also be a very complex issue because it may have been used as a cry for help or simply as a mode of cognitive escape. Gathered reports indicate that the main reasons for arsons committed by firefighter personnel are to be viewed as a heroic figure, an escape from personal stress, financial gain purposes, excitement, or even revenge against the fire company and others.
Arson, as defined by Find Law, is “the willful and malicious burning or charring of property…classifying as a felony due to the potential to cause injuries or death” (criminal.findlaw.com). FEMA reports estimates about “280 deaths, 775 injuries and $593 million in property loss each ...


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...rder in L.I. arson
case that left mom, kids dead. (2010, February 19). NY Daily News. Retrieved May 8, 2014, from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/wannabe-hero-firefighter-caleb-lacey-convicted-murder-arson-case-left-mom-kids-dead-article-1.166261

Whitfield County firefighter charged with arson. (2014, April 27). Whitfield
County firefighter charged with arson. Retrieved May 5, 2014, from http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/2014/04/27/firefighter-charged-with-arson-georgia/8268415/

Special Report: Firefighter Arson. (2003, January 1).
. Retrieved May 7, 2014, from http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/tr-141.pdf

Zapotosky, M., & Morse, D. (2009, November 6). 2 firefighters in Pr.
George's charged with arson. Washington Post. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/05/AR2009110504793.html

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