Special report: Tracking Charleston's serial arsonist

Image by Flickr user Pedro Moura Pinheiro

In a special report released on Monday in The Post and Courier, journalist Tony Bartelme took a cold hard look at the patterns, destruction and the clues which define Charleston's serial arsonist.

In an effort to piece together clues that may have once been overlooked, Bartelme's piece is a collection of data acquired from the city's arson task force of all reports of suspicious fires and arsons since 2002. What Bartelme discovered is both intriguing and disturbing.

The facts:

  • Since 2002, a total of 83 suspicious fires have been set in downtown Charleston neighborhoods. 
  • When plotted on a map, all but two fires were within 5,000 feet of each other. 
  • Nearly all the fires have been set to houses averaging 105 years in age. 
  • The the arsonist targets entrances and exits. 
  • Certain materials are used to establish the fires, usually couches, clothing, mattresses, or paper.

The report goes on to look inside the mind and motivation of an arsonist, explains what local law enforcement and task forces are doing to catch him, provides tips on how to keep your home safe and much more.

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