Fire-Starting Incentives

Two French firefighters admitted to starting brush fires on the island of Corsica on July 8 and July 14. Their motivation: overtime bonus pay of 19 euros for nighttime work (July 8) and 38 euros on July 14, for Bastille Day. (HT: Arnaud Loutrel) [%comments]

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  1. Eric M. Jones says:

    There certainly are enticements for doing what you are hired to prevent…then being the hero. Firemen convicted of arson is not so rare.

    I lived in a small town where the chief of police was burning doen the whole town. He always seemed to be the one turning in the alarm. It took years to figure it out, finally with outside help.

    Why anti-virus companies don’t sponsor hacker schools, conventions, and magazines is beyond me. My plan is to use the proceeds from my home security agency to sponsor half-way houses for ex-convicts.

    Foot fetishists work in shoe stores. Why not?

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  2. notmelbrooks says:

    Someone should do a study to determine if there is a higher percentage of pyromaniacs in the general population or in the firefighter population.

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  3. Devika says:

    Fire starting fire fighters are far too common, and there are so many different reasons to consider as to why something so seemingly illogical (and counter-intuitive, to say the least) is so prevalent. Is it a hero complex, or is it natural that people who are drawn to fire would choose a profession in which they are around it more? And I guess now there’s a monetary incentive to consider, as well. I hope somebody can do a more in-depth study about this phenomenon, because I find it really fascinating.

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  4. edel says:

    In Spain we all know that fact too well. After the huge amount of fires in the last decade (by the way, 90% intentioned), many brigades of fireman were hired during summer seasons. Fire devastation decreased the following year, so no brigades were hired… The next year fires came back….
    One of the causes? Lots of firemen wanted to “make an statement” of how much they are needed all years, not just some!
    How can you manage this??

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  5. ilze42 says:

    The simple fact is that whenever people are engaged in dealing with undesirable societal behaviour as a profession (police, military, firefighters, psychiatrists et al), there will always be an incentive to stimulate the things that they are paid to control. If the incidence of this is not high enough to support their income expectations, many will effectively “create” work for themselves.

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  6. Matthew R. says:

    Perhaps we should pay firefighters a bonus when fires *don’t* happen, to incentivize them to spread the word on fire safety and prevention?

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  7. baffour says:

    i think an in-depth study would be very interesting but how do you get someone to admit that they are a pyromaniac? also, it does make sense to imagine that there would be more arsonists in the fire department than elsewhere but this needs to be examined carefully. it is natural that poeple who like fire would position themselves in a situation where they would encounter fire on a regular basis..just as a a person, say with a love of children, would choose to be a pre-school teacher. but the emphasis here is on CHOOSE. the critical issue here is how people ended up with fire-fighting as their occupation? was it by choice or by chance? most fire-fighters may have gotten into fire-fighting because they couldn’t get into, say the police force. in that sence, studies that conclude that there are more pyromaniacs in the fire department may be misleading as there might be more pyromaniacs on the police force (those that did get in). also, were the fire fighters predisposed to starting fires or did they become arsonists because they were around fire so much? these are interesting questions that need to be looked at further.

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  8. Brian Boyd says:

    In middle school, this kid I know was arrested for setting fire to a file cabinet in the admin office. He said his plan was to put out the fire so he could be the “hero.”

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