Which children set fires? Why do they do it?
- Boys and girls ages 2 to 10, sometimes younger or slow learners
- Lack of understanding of the destructive potential of fire
- Ready access to lighters, matches, or open flame
Troubled Fire Setter
- Mostly boys of all ages
- Have set two or more fires
- Use fire to express anger, sadness, frustration, or powerless feeling related to stress or major changes in their life
- May not understand the consequences of uncontrolled fire
- Continues to set fires until needs are identified and met
- Also known as "crisis' or "cry for help" fire setters
Delinquent / Criminal
- Usually teens with a history of fire setting, truancy, antisocial behavior, or drug/alcohol abuse
- Fires are set with the intent to destroy or as acts of vandalism and malicious mischief
- Targets are typically schools, open fields, dumpsters, or abandoned buildings.
- May involve restitution and criminal punishment if determined to be arson.
Emotionally Disturbed Psychiatric Diagnosis
- Fire may be random, ritualized, or with the specific intent to destroy property
- Chronic history of school behavioral, social, emotional, or physical problems
- Boys or girls, of all ages
- Sets many fires