One young boy just wanted his own bed instead of sleeping on the floor in a bedroom with four siblings. So, he started a fire in his house.
A teenage girl brought a lighter to school to protect herself. She thought if she used it as a weapon, she could scare off the kids who were bullying her.
Students set 39 fires at Pikes Peak region schools in 2017, said Sunny Smaldino, community education and outreach supervisor and a youth fire intervention specialist for Colorado Springs’ Division of the Fire Marshal.
Instead of being sent to juvenile detention, many adolescent offenders — who at ages 8 to 18 have been identified as potentially becoming full-fledged arsonists — are referred to an intense fire intervention program that Colorado Springs fire officials created years ago and recently fine-tuned.
“The goal of this program is that they learn from this and don’t ever do this again,” said Kathy Hook, a youth fire-setting intervention specialist and fire and life safety educator.
With a recidivism rate of less than