The charred sites began appearing across South­eastern Mass­a­chu­setts in late Sep­tember, a growing cluster of at least 16 sus­pi­cious fires from Quincy to Sand­wich that is feared to be the destruc­tive work of a serial arsonist.

The latest fire, ruled an ­arson, hap­pened late Monday night in a vacant out­building at the old Raynham dog track, ­only one day after another unex­plained fire erupted at a building in Weymouth.

State and local fire offi­cials are inten­si­fying their inves­ti­ga­tion, hoping to put a quick end to the random torching of ­vacant build­ings, homes, and sheds for what might be the simple thrill of momen­tary excitement.

James Alan Fox, a North­eastern Uni­ver­sity pro­fessor of crim­i­nology, said thrill-​​seeking arson often involves more than one person, a team that derives plea­sure from the bonding ­aspect of set­ting the fire. “The fires tend to be sec­ondary to the sense of their rela­tion­ship, a ­secret activity that binds them together,” Fox said. “There’s this cama­raderie that they get out of doing this.”

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