A French volunteer fireman in his late 30s has admitted to starting several fires over the summer for the “adrenaline” rush and to spend time away from his family.
The unnamed man was arrested last week by French police after he was seen near the site of multiple fires that had broken out in the area of Saint-Jean-de-la-Blaquière in the south of France.
He later admitted to starting these fires in July, and also fires in the nearby region of Saint-Privat back in May. He reportedly admitted to setting a total of 8 fires throughout the summer of 2022.
According to French broadcaster RFI, while in police custody, the fireman admitted to setting fires over the last three years for the “adrenaline” rush, and to get away from his family.
Local media claimed he wanted “to provoke firefighter operations in order to escape an oppressive family environment.”
“He has a hard time explaining it,” the man’s lawyer, Marion Barre, told France Bleu.
“He already says that it is an addiction in the same way as cigarettes or narcotics or alcohol. He needs to light fires, he needs to see fire. And the second thing is that it also allowed him to have adrenaline rushes. It’s something he needs.”
Barre added that the man was actually “relieved” to have been caught by police.
“He couldn’t stop,” she said.
“The way it stops is perfectly dramatic, of course. But he is relieved that there is an end to all these acts that have been committed.”
The man’s arrest came mere days after French authorities arrested another man near Bordeaux over a separate large fire incident which is believed to have been sparked on purpose.
— ANADOLU AGENCY (@anadoluagency) July 19, 2022
Additionally, as reported by RTÉ, two fires which broke out in France’s north western region of Brittany are also believed to be acts of arson.
Three recent French wildfires were arson, say prosecutorshttps://t.co/2X9QSsbMbt
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 25, 2022
In Greece nine suspected arsonists were arrested last week on suspicion of starting wildfires.
— Greek News Online (@GRK_News_Online) July 28, 2022
As reported by the Mirror, Spanish authorities now suspect an arson attack after the Spanish north-western region of Galicia on Wednesday (August 3) experienced intense flames.
Despite these findings, many media outlets were quick to attribute the pattern of fires to climate change.
Authorities across southern Europe fought wildfires in countries including Spain, Greece and France, where thousands of people have been evacuated as temperatures soar https://t.co/0Qh4vPBO0k pic.twitter.com/br1KiTbRyJ
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 18, 2022
“Authorities across southern Europe battled on Sunday to control huge wildfires in countries including Spain, Greece and France, with hundreds of deaths blamed on soaring temperatures that scientists say are consistent with climate change,” Reuters reported in late July.