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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 »

Alabama Campers Arrested Over Colorado Wildfire

More than 600 acres have been scorched, 2K people evacuated

(Newser) - More than 50 Colorado National Guardsmen are helping hundreds of firefighters battle a blaze that the Boulder County Sheriff's Office says was started by two careless campers from Alabama, USA Today and the AP report. Jimmy Suggs, 28, and Zackary Kuykendall, 26, of Vinemont were arrested Sunday and charged... More »

On Rare Weekend Alone, Bride-to-Be Is Murdered

Police have arrested a man who lived in Amanda Strous' building

(Newser) - Early Saturday evening, just weeks before her July 30 wedding, college counselor Amanda Strous was pulled from her fiery apartment in Charlotte, NC. The fire, says Strous' dad, was a cover-up to hide her murder. Police say that a man who lives in the same complex confessed to the killing... More »

How Twins Allegedly Spent Winter Break: Bombing Stuff

The Amish lost a couple of sheds to improvised explosives

(Newser) - Beware of bored college students home from school. Twin brothers are accused of blowing up a number of sheds—two of them belonging to the Amish—in Chester County, Pa., while home on winter break, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The bombing spree started Dec. 20 with a mailbox. By the... More »

Police: Man Douses Smoking Girlfriend With Gas, Kills Her

'I lost it,' he tells reporters

(Newser) - A man charged with dousing his girlfriend with gasoline as she smoked a cigarette, causing her to burst into flames, told reporters Sunday "I'm sorry" and "I lost it," as he was being led away in handcuffs by police, NBC News reports. Kevin Small, 46, also... More »

Massive 2013 Fertilizer Plant Blast Was Caused by Arson

ATF announces its findings, calls fire 'a criminal act'

(Newser) - An intentionally set fire caused the 2013 explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant that killed 15 people, federal officials said Wednesday, calling the fire "a criminal act." Federal and state investigators said no arrests have been made, but that they are investigating who was responsible for causing the... More »

After Slew of Suspicious Fires, a Firefighter Is Arrested

Lawson Michael Schalm is blamed for at least 18 fires in Alberta town

(Newser) - After more than 20 suspicious fires in the space of a few weeks, it didn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that an arsonist was at work in the small town of Mayerthorpe, Alberta—but the real shock was the suspect's identity. On Saturday, volunteer firefighter Lawson Michael... More »

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