Firefighter arson

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Firefighter arson is a persistent phenomenon involving a minority of firefighters who are also active arsonists.[1] Fire-fighting organizations are aware of this problem. Some of the offenders seem to be motivated by boredom, or by the prospect of receiving attention for responding to the fires they have set.[2]

It has been reported that roughly 100 U.S. firefighters are convicted of arson each year.[3][4]

Motives behind why a firefighter would commit arson are widespread, ranging from excitement to concealing a crime. An excitement based motive would suggest that the firefighter wanted to be viewed as a hero. These fires are anything from "nuisance" fires, such as a trash container fire, to a fully occupied apartment fire. This motivation could be due to a need for excitement or thrill, but also in some rare cases sexual gratification. The firefighter would set the fire, allow it to be reported from an outside source before arriving on scene and acting as a hero. This can also be classified as hero syndrome.

A profile through the FBI's Behavioral Analysis unit was put together, that detailed a potential arsonist, and found it to be highly accurate compared to the cases studied in years since. The profile states to look for a white male, between the ages of 17-26, with poor social skills. He will have been a product of a poor home environment, where one or both of his parents were abusive or missing from his life. He will have a poor relationship with his father, aggressive or hostile, while having a potentially overprotective mother.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Firefighters who start fires: a look at the phenomenon of 'firefighter arson'". Edmonton Journal. 2016-05-03. Retrieved 2016-06-27.
  2. ^ Cabe, Ken. "SCFC Firefighter Arson Study". Retrieved 2016-06-27. Published in Fire Management Notes Vol. 56, No. 1 (1996)
  3. ^ Neufeld, Lydia (May 3, 2016). "Firefighter arson is a long-standing problem, experts say". CBC News. Retrieved 2016-06-27.
  4. ^ "Report on the Firefighter Arson Problem: Context, Considerations, and Best Practices" (PDF). National Volunteer Fire Council. 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2016.