Another charge has been filed against Kyle Harmon, 26, Wichita Falls. Wichita County Sheriff David Duke says Harmon confessed to lighting a fire in 2005 in which another Firefighter was injured. He now faces a charge of Arson with injury or death, in addition to a second degree felony count of Arson.
Harmon is a firefighter with the Cameron Gardens Fire Department. The Wichita County Sheriff's Office says he confessed to starting several fires over a 3 year period. Cameron Gardens has been plagued with suspicious fires for the past 7 years, leading Duke to believe there were more subjects starting fires. In a press conference, Duke said he thinks the other fire bugs could be Firefighters. He says it's not unheard of for a Firefighter to start fires, "I've seen other Firefighters in North Texas in the past have a problem like this."
Newschannel 6 wanted to know how common the problem is. A 2003 report from the Department of Homeland Security Firefighter Arson, deals with the issue. In it, the FBI profiles a typical Firefighter Arsonist as a white male between 17 and 25. It says he could have come from a broken home and has dysfunctional relationships.
Sheriff David duke wouldn't go into details about Harmon but said Harmon has troubles, "(Harmon) has some problems."
Duke would not elaborate on Harmon's possible motive, but the DHS report lists several common motives. One thing is notes is the desire to be a hero. It says offenders could be motivated by the excitement factor, or they could be seeking revenge for a real or perceived injustice. The report says profit, extremist statements and crime concealment are also common motives.
Regardless of the reasons, the rash of suspicious fires are still under investigation. And the sheriff says the idea of Firefighters turning into firebugs is a sore subject,"Its basically a slap in the face to the other Firefighters in the community."
The report also says that more than 75% of the Fire Departments in America are volunteer departments. It says most of the documented cases of Firefighter arson comes from those ranks.
To view the report from DHS Special Report: Firefighter Arson, click on the links to the upper left.