What Is Arson?

According to a criminal defense attorney Odessa, arson is the intentional and malicious act of burning or setting fire to another person’s property. Property includes and is not limited to homes, cars,  boats, machinery, and especially those who own farms – the unlawful burning of land.

As part of the Gravenhurst Fire Department, we spend a lot of time investigating fires and determining the cause of the fire. To determine in the fire was due to arson we look at the following things:

  1. Intent – in order for it to be considered a crime, the person must have the intent of destroying the property. Accidental fires happen all the time but that doesn’t lead to arson charges.
  2. Property Damage – in order for it to be classified as arson property must be damaged.
  3. Means Of Starting Fire – in order for it to be considered arson, the suspected arsonist must have means of starting a fire such as a match, lighter or explosives. Our elite law enforcement units use special chemical analysis to help determine the point of origin of the fire.

It’s also important to know that people who burn their own property to collect on insurance policies may be charged with arson as well as insurance fraud.

Depending on where you live arson is either a misdemeanor or a felony. The degree of the crime varies based on the risk of potential injury, the type of property burned, the amount of property that was damaged.

For example, an arsonist will be charged with a higher degree of arson if they burn down a building that was occupied versus burning down a building that was abandoned because the risk of potential injury is higher.

Sometimes determining whether or no the fire was due to arson can be difficult which is why we rely on our community members to help us. If you see anything suspicious at the onset of a fire such as someone fleeing the scene call 911 and report it immediately.