According to a new study by the Scripps Howard News Service, arsonists tend to set more fires in the middle of April than at other times of the year. And according to a detective on the Los Angeles County Sheriff's arson squad, there's no obvious reason why the phenomena occurs.
“Most serial offenders set fires during periods of emotional stress, such as holidays, or shortly after a setback in their life — loss of job, failed relationship, et cetera. I have no explanation whatsoever for the April spike in fires,” said Detective Ed Nordskog.
The Scripps Howard study looked at 71,356 incidents of arson that occured in the United States between 2006 and 2011. Each year, the number of arson cases spiked during the week around April 15.
The number of intentionally set building fires each year reached is peak on April 19 with 275 arsons committeed on that day. That's more than 40 percent higher than the average daily rate.
True to form, several cases of suspected arson were reported in the days preceeding and following April 15.
Los Angeles investigators have deemed an April 15 building fire in Koreatown as "suspicious" and are looking for clues to the fire's cause. It took nearly 150 firefighters about an hour-and-a-half to bring the massive blaze under control.
Another suspected case of arson occurred at a strip mall near Phoenix on April 10. Investigators found three gasoline cans at the scene where 20 units from six cities battled the fire.
Police are also investigating a possible case of arson in Miami, Fla., that left a homeless woman seriously injured. The fire occurred on the evening of April 16 in a grassy area near a bus stop.
In a particularly gruesome case of arson, a 38-year-old homeless man was charged with murder and arson resulting in great bodily harm. On April 16, the 38-year-old-man threw a flamable object into a parked SUV where a 63-year-old man was sitting. The man later died at a hospital. The attack occurred at a 7-Eleven in Long Beach, Calif., just south of Los Angeles.
Elsewhere in Southern Califonia, four Imperial County teens were arrested on April 18 and charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, commercial burglary and conspiracy to commit commercial burglary following a series of fires in downtown Brawley.
If you find yourself involved in an arson case, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.