Tracking down a serial arsonist isn’t as easy as you might think – find out more on ‘Firebug’

True Crime September 14, 2021
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Listen to ‘Firebug’

In the early 1990s, Southern California was terrorized by a serial arsonist. For ten years, he burned down businesses and neighborhoods in the broad daylight of the California sun. He killed only four people over that time, but left many others with both physical and mental scars. They called him Firebug.

The thing that seperates arsonists from all other criminals is their desire to witness the chaos they created, as if it was art. It’s also extremely difficult to track down serial arsonists, since all of their evidence burns with their crimes. So finding this criminal was no simple task.

In the mid ’90s, the host and founder of Crime Story Media, Kary Antholis, came across a manuscript that was circling Hollywood. It was entitled Points of Origin. It told the story of a fictional investigator on the trail of a serial arsonist burning down California. Real investigators also got a hold of this manuscript, and were shocked by how similar these fictional fires were to the ones that had been set in the past decade. The realization set them down a path to find if Points of Origin was purely a work of fiction, or the diary of a serial arsonist and murderer.

This is where Antholis comes back. He has been sitting with this story for nearly 30 years. And now, Truth Media and Sony Music Entertainment have teamed up to have Antholis tell this story. Using cinematic sound design, real-world investigative recordings and archival footage, “Firebug” is a journey through fiction and reality.

“Firebug” alternates between Antholis’ journey with this story, the investigation and arrest of a Los Angeles arsonist, and the narration of Point of Origin. It is a captivating blend of storytelling, not surprising considering the Academy and Emmy Award winning team of Antholis’ and the show’s editor/producer Marc Smerling.

The first three episodes are out now, and new episodes come out Thursdays on all major platforms. Listen to the rest of the story unravel on “Firebug”.

Listen to ‘Firebug’

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