Mar 29, 2006
Personal Accounts: Memoirs of a Compulsive Firesetter some excerpts: Each summer I look forward to the beginning of fire season as well as the fall—the dry and windy season. I set my fires alone. I am also very impulsive, which makes my behavior unpredictable. I exhibit paranoid characteristics when I am alone, always looking around me to see if someone is following me. I picture everything burnable around me on fire. I watch the local news broadcasts for fires that have been set each day and read the local newspapers in search of articles dealing with suspicious fires. I read literature about fires, firesetters, pyromania, pyromaniacs, arson, and arsonists. I contact government agencies about fire information and keep up-to-date on the arson detection methods investigators use. I watch movies and listen to music about fires. My dreams are about fires that I have set, want to set, or wish I had set. I like to investigate fires that are not my own, and I may call to confess to fires that I did not set. I love to drive back and forth in front of fire stations, and I have the desire to pull every fire alarm I see. I am self-critical and defensive, I fear failure, and I sometimes behave suicidally. During the fire. Watching the fire from a perfect vantage point is important to me. I want to see the chaos as well as the destruction that I or others have caused. Talking to authorities on the phone or in person while the action is going on can be part of the thrill. I enjoy hearing about the fire on the radio or watching it on television, learning about all the possible motives and theories that officials have about why and how the fire started. After the fire is out. At this time I feel sadness and anguish and a desire to set another fire. Overall it seems that the fire has created a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Several days after the fire. I revel in the notoriety of the unknown firesetter, even if I did not set the fire. I also return again to see the damage and note areas of destruction on an area map.