Youth Fire Setter Intervention Program

Mission Statement

The mission of the Princeton Youth Fire Setter Intervention Program (YFIP) is to provide education and counseling referrals to youth and their families who have experienced the devastating effects of juvenile fire play.

Program Overview

Children have a natural curiosity about fire, and that curiosity will often lead to experimentation with fire. Children set about 35% of the incendiary fires investigated by the Collin County Fire Investigation Unit. The property loss from these fires is significant; however, the potential for injury and loss of life is a serious and frightening threat.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that more than 45% of all children between the ages of five and seven have played with matches

and lighters. Most of the fires started by children in this age group are set out of curiosity. Intervention at the curiosity stage of fire setting can teach the proper and safe use of fire and help prevent destructive tendencies that could develop into acts of delinquency and violence.

The Princeton Youth Firesetter Intervention Program is an educational program that can be adapted to the individual needs of each child. The program is designed to work in cooperation with the Juvenile Court system and the various counseling and mental health agencies in Collin County.

  1. Youth Fire Setter
  2. Youth Fire Setting Prevention in Princeton

Youth Fire Setter Information

Children participating in the Princeton Youth Fire Setter Intervention Program (YFIP) from 5 to 16 years of age. Their fire play behavior is just as varied as their ages.

Toddlers often try to imitate adults. This coupled with the availability of matches and lighters can lead even a toddler to start a potentially dangerous fire. Unfortunately, even curious toddlers often sense that what they are doing is wrong and try to hide their fire play behavior. At this stage, both parents and child can benefit from intervention. Curiosity about fire is natural, but it needs to be channeled in a positive and constructive direction.

Warning Signs

The problem fire setter can range from preschool age children to teenagers. He or she may show an obsessive interest in fire and usually has set more than one fire. Poor self-image, problems at school, and / or an unstable home situation are some of the difficulties that a problem fire setter may encounter. The fire setting incidents are sometimes cries for help. Intervention can be successful at this stage, but there may also be a need for professional counseling.

The delinquent fire setter usually has a history of academic and social problems. A poor self-image and peer pressure can be factors at this stage. Problems with these children often go beyond fire setting to other acts of vandalism. There is a high rate of recidivism among delinquent fire setters.

A severely disturbed fire setter can be of any age and has a variety of problems. Because of the complicated behavior patterns of this type of juvenile fire setter, the treatment process is best handled through the juvenile court system or mental health counselors.

Fortunately, most juvenile fire setters can be treated successfully with education and counseling. The goal of the Princeton Youth Fire Setter Intervention Program (YFIP) is to teach fire safe behavior to all children and their parents.


If you reside in the City of Princeton and would like to refer your child to participate in this program, please email Fire Marshal.