arson

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Dying Words of Teen Trapped by Fire Played in Court

'I never thought I'd die this way'

(Newser) - In the last moments of his 14-year life, Joe Phillips called his friend's cellphone, cursing in panic. He was trapped by flames that had gotten out of control during what had been a summer afternoon of mischief inside a vacant New York building. "I'm really stuck, dude,... More »

Police Make Arrests, Say Atlanta Highway Fire Was Intentional

Homeless man accused of starting blaze under I-85

(Newser) - Two men and one woman have been arrested in connection with a massive fire that could leave traffic in Atlanta snarled for months. Basil Eleby, the man believed to have intentionally started a blaze that caused an overpass on Interstate 85 to collapse, was booked on suspicion of first-degree criminal... More »

Cops: Man Starts Fire at Store He Thought Was Muslim-Owned

It wasn't

(Newser) - Authorities say a 64-year-old Florida man tried to burn down a convenience store Friday because he thought it was owned by Muslims. It wasn't. The Palm Beach Post reports sheriff's deputies were called to a Met Mart in St. Lucie for reports of a suspicious person. Deputies say... More »

Lawyer's Pants Catch Fire During Arson Trial

Florida attorney argued that client's car spontaneously combusted

(Newser) - Jurors trying to assess the truthfulness of defense lawyer Stephen Gutierrez's closing arguments in an arson trial Wednesday may have been dismayed to notice that his pants were literally on fire. Witnesses say the lawyer had to flee the Miami courtroom with smoke billowing from his pocket, the Miami ... More »

Greedy Mom Who Killed Her Kids or Victim of 'Junk Science'?

Intercept examines how fire science advances cast doubt on Angela Garcia's conviction

(Newser) - In May 2016, Angela Garcia did the unthinkable: She pleaded guilty to setting a fire that killed her 2-year-old and 3-year-old daughters, Nijah and Nyeemah, 16 years earlier. Liliana Segura reveals the innards of the Cleveland woman's case for the Intercept , exploring why so many—her lawyer, her family,... More »

Man Charged in Burning His Home Busted by Pacemaker

Ross Compton's story 'highly improbable' due to his medical conditions: cardiologist

(Newser) - A man charged with arson based partly on data collected from his pacemaker pleaded not guilty Tuesday to setting his Ohio home on fire and insurance fraud charges, the AP reports. Authorities have said gasoline was found on Ross Compton's clothing and that the fire started in multiple places,... More »

Black Church's 'Vote Trump' Arson Wasn't What It Seemed

Member of Mississippi church that burned a week before the election is arrested

(Newser) - It made national headlines a week before the election: Someone set fire to a black church in Mississippi and painted the words "Vote Trump" on the building. Now authorities think they've got the arsonist, and they say the idea that a Donald Trump supporter did this was a... More »

Teens Could Get Life in Tenn. Wildfire

'Everything is on the table,' prosecutors say

(Newser) - Everything, including murder charges that could bring a sentence of life in prison, is "on the table" for two teenagers accused of starting a devastating wildfire in Tennessee, prosecutors warn. The pair, whose names and ages have not been publicly released, were charged with aggravated arson earlier this month... More »

2 Teens Charged in Devastating Tennessee Wildfire

Tips from the public reportedly helped

(Newser) - Authorities on Wednesday charged two juveniles in an East Tennessee wildfire that killed 14 people and destroyed or damaged more than 1,700 buildings in an iconic tourism spot at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains, the AP reports. Officials offered few other specifics about how they think the... More »

Firefighter Pleads Guilty to Setting Fires So He'd Get Paid

The part-time firefighter only got paid for hours spent fighting fires

(Newser) - A 31-year-old Cherokee man in North Carolina pleaded guilty Monday to setting seven fires in order to get paid for putting them out, the Charlotte Observer reports. Part-time firefighters hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs only get paid for the hours they spend fighting fires or doing maintenance on... More »

Man Used Cheetos to Try to Burn Down Ex's House

They actually make decent kindling

(Newser) - A Massachusetts man who tried to use Cheetos to burn his ex-girlfriend's house down with her inside was sentenced to 36 months in jail this week, the Taunton Daily Gazette reports. The victim and her friend called police in March to report 31-year-old Shemroy Williams attempting to set fire... More »

Police: Wildfire Started by Amateur Facebook Weatherman

'He's not a bad kid...just misguided'

(Newser) - A wannabe weatherman was jailed for arson after police say he admitted starting a wildfire to draw attention to his selfie videos on Facebook, the AP reports. "It's really too bad because he's not a bad kid—he's just misguided," said James Stephens, the police... More »

Fire Chief: 'Vote Trump' Church Blaze Was Arson

Historically black Miss. church was 80% destroyed

(Newser) - Somebody set a fire that heavily damaged an African-American church that was also spray-painted with the phrase "Vote Trump," and an $11,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the conviction of whoever did it, a Mississippi fire chief says. The FBI has opened a civil... More »

Man Arrested in Connection With Arson at Florida Mosque

The mosque was sometimes attended by Pulse shooter Omar Mateen

(Newser) - Police have arrested a suspect in the fire that left a 100-square-foot hole in the roof of a Florida mosque occasionally attended by Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, WKMG reports. According to Reuters , 32-year-old Joseph Schreiber is believed to be behind Sunday's arson at the Islamic Center of Fort... More »

Mosque Where Orlando Gunman Prayed Goes Up in Flames

Cops say it wasn't an accident

(Newser) - Before Omar Mateen shot up the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and killed 49 people in June, he had been a longtime regular at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, showing up at Friday services for 13 years. That mosque went up in flames early Monday, per the St. Lucie County... More »

Cops: Woman Set Fire to Guy's Car, Only It Wasn't Her Ex's

The 19-year-old was caught on surveillance video in Florida

(Newser) - A young woman police have identified through surveillance video as 19-year-old Carmen Chamblee is charged with setting fire to a Honda Civic in Clearwater, Fla., and she says she thought it was her ex-boyfriend's, reports WFTS . It wasn't. Thomas Jennings, the man who owned the vehicle, says he'... More »

Man Arrested for 'Horrific' California Arson

Lower Lake fire has destroyed almost 200 homes

(Newser) - A man was arrested Monday for allegedly sparking a wildfire that exploded over the weekend, destroying more than 175 homes, businesses, and other structures in a Northern California town, authorities say. Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin says Damin Anthony Pashilk, 40, was arrested Monday on 17 counts of arson and... More »

Arson 101: Guy Shows How Not to Light a Fire

Well, that didn't go as planned

(Newser) - Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug, and sometimes you're the guy trying to burn a building down who sets fire to a little more than you intended. Such was the plight of a would-be arsonist intending to burn down a Kentucky barbershop when he accidentally... More »

Suspect in Arson Targeting Black Firefighter Is 'Friend'

Ex-firefighter may have been upset with Kenneth Walker's fire company

(Newser) - Buffalo police have a suspect in custody in the arson of a black firefighter's apartment —and he's no stranger. Police say former firefighter Matthew Jurado, 39, who lives across the street from Kenneth Walker, has been charged with second-degree arson after he admitted to starting the blaze... More »

Cops Use Potato to Crack Arson Case

Suspect allegedly stuffed it into a vehicle's tailpipe

(Newser) - Connecticut police knew they were dealing with arson. What they didn't know was who was responsible—until a DNA test on a potato provided a break in the case. Willow Martin, 19, was charged Tuesday with several crimes including arson and burglary after a September 2015 fire at a... More »

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