Firefighter-arsonists

Firefighters control a fire in the Shawnee State Forest in Ohio. Photo: Wayne Allen, Portsmouth Daily Times

The Columbus-Dispatch has a story about how the Ohio Fire Academy and fire departments in the state attempt to prevent firefighter-arson. They point out that there are no national statistics about the number of firefighters charged with arson, but the U.S. Fire Administration in a 2003 report published an FBI-created profile of the typical firefighter-arsonist:

  • Are white males, ages 17-25.
  • Had one or both parents missing from home during childhood or, if the family was intact, had an emotional atmosphere that was mixed and unstable.
  • Have a cold, distant, hostile or aggressive relationship with natural father.
  • Have either a poor marriage or live at home with their parents.
  • Lack stable interpersonal relationships.
  • Didn’t adjust well to other jobs.
  • Are interested in fire service for excitement, not for the sake of public service.
  • Might have experienced alcoholism, childhood hyperactivity, homosexuality, depression, borderline personality disorder or suicidal tendencies.
  • Might have an average to higher intelligence, but poor academic performance.

For more information, see the article we wrote on September 2, 2008.