Inside the Mind of an Arsonist

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A child’s swing set sits among the debris in one of the neighborhoods that was destroyed during the Clayton fire in Lower Lake, California. (Photo: Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)

Residents of Lake County are starting to return home as firefighters put out the last remnants of the Clayton Fire, which burned nearly 4,000 acres and destroyed approximately 300 homes and buildings. The Clearlake man arrested for starting the fire is suspected to be a serial arsonist – he's charged with starting 12 fires in the area and has been under investigation over the past year. In this hour, we talk with forensic investigators about what motivates arsonists and why so few are convicted in court.


More Information:


Paul Steensland, owner, Paul Steensland and Associates; former national fire investigation specialist, U.S. Forest Service.

N.G. Berrill, executive director, New York Forensic

Derek Moore, staff writer, Santa Rosa Press Democrat