The Juvenile Fire Setter Intervention Program is a statewide standardized program to provide prevention education/intervention and referrals if warranted for the children and families of Illinois to reduce the frequency and severity of fires set by juveniles. Partnering with the fire service, this program provides a coordinated referral center for the assessment and treatment of juvenile fire setters and their families, thereby slowing down the often devastating results of fire setting. Prevention education can quell the youth fire problem, but only when properly targeted, designed, and delivered. The behaviors causing the problem must be considered because what motivates their behavior is the surest clue to solving the youth fire setting problem.

The program is an educational intervention that targets at-risk youths who have expressed an interest in fire and/or have been involved in fire setting activities. The class is free of charge. The program is dedicated to assisting youth and their families with the issues related to fire curiosity, fire experimentation and fire setting.

A youth fire setter is a child under the age of 18, who accidentally or purposely starts a fire. Each year youth-set fires cause hundreds of injuries and deaths, and destroy millions of dollars worth of property.

Children set fires for many reasons. Below are some of the reasons:

  • Children want to see how matches or lighters work and how things burn.
  • Children imitate their parents, family members and important people in their lives.
  • Some children and youth are pressured to set fires by their friends.
  • Some children may be experiencing a recent crisis or trauma, and use fire setting as a way to cope, as a cry for help or out of anger.
  • Some children use fire to add an element of risk or excitement to their activities.
  • Some children use fire as a way to threaten and intimidate others.
  • Some children use fire during other illegal activities as a way to try and cover up their crimes and destroy evidence.

Whatever the reason a child starts a fire, help is available through the Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District’s Juvenile Fire Setter Intervention Program. Call (630)365-6855 and ask to speak with one of the Juvenile Interventionists: Capt. Schopp or Fire Marshal Schopp.

For further information: