A True StoryBook - 2002
On an October evening in South Pasadena, a horrifying wave of flame swept through a large home improvement center, snuffing out the lives of four innocent people, including a two-year-old boy. Firefighters rushed to the scene, even as a pair of equally suspicious fires broke out in two nearby stores. Silently watching the raging inferno in the midst of the heat, smoke, and chaos was a man respected as one of California's foremost arson investigators, a captain in the Glendale Fire Department ...
From Joseph Wambaugh, the critically acclaimed,nationally bestselling author of The Onion Field, comes the astonishing true story of a nightmarish obsession -- and the hunt for a brilliant psychopath who lived a double life filled with professional tributes and terrifying secrets.
From the critics
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John Orr bagged his first pyromaniac when a landlord reported a series of small fires in an apartment complex. On the last one a “bystander” shouted a warning to residents and escorted some of them out before the engine company arrived. He was the same guy who had recently spotted a purse snatching and captured the thief after a foot pursuit. John immediately suspected the bystander hero. He wrote, “This guy sounded like me. He even looked like me right down to the mustache.” Then the hero was a bystander once too often and tried fighting a fire with a garden hose, but got overcome by smoke and ended up in an ER with an IV in his arm. He had to give his address of his employer for the hospital records, and he did, but the address belonged to the Glendale Police Department, a clue to the hospital staff the guy might just be a head case.
…(John Orr) thought that pyros were interesting. He learned that they make up less than 5 percent of arson suspects and that typically they were loners. John wrote: “the fire becomes a friend they can relate to. Their fires bring attention, friends, admiration as heroes, and self-esteem. Like a drug addict, one good score leads to the desire for another."
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