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.”