Fire and Baby Burn Pyromania

Topics: Fire, Pyromania, Arson Pages: 3 (1178 words) Published: November 19, 2007
Burn Baby Burn
Pyromania: "A morbid compulsion to set fires." (Macdonald 4) This term is often used to describe anyone who enjoys watching and setting fires, although the true meaning of the word is a psychological disorder. People affected by this disorder use fire to vent their anger or stress from their everyday life. They will set anything close at hand on fire and take pleasure in the way the fire dances around the object it is quickly smoldering and utterly destroying. A pyromaniac however, is not the same thing as an arsonist. The Pyromaniac has a mental disorder which usually begins at a very young age and gradually fades as the subject ages, or in some cases becomes more intense.

Pyromania, also referred to as fire behavior, progresses through three stages and at each stage it has a chance to be stopped. The first of these stages is Fire Interest. Most children experience Fire Interest between the ages of three and five. The kids may ask questions about fire such as "Why is it so hot?" or "What makes a fire burn?" They also take interest in fire by playing with fire trucks or pretending to cook food on toy stoves. In the Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Handbook by Jessica Gaynor, Gaynor explains that "This type of play is healthy and provides children with ways to explore and understand fire as a productive and useful part of their lives." (Gaynor 15) The next stage of Fire Behavior is called Firestarting. This usually occurs between the ages of three and nine. The children at this point begin to start experimenting with starting fires. Not necessarily bonfires but simply lighting the candles on their birthday cake or helping their parents light the fireplace. Gaynor goes on to say that "If these events take place in controlled, supervised settings, most children learn age-appropriate fire behaviors." (Gaynor 15) This is often not the case. Most children engage in at least one unsupervised firestart during this age period and are naively motivated...
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