Youth Firesetting


Each year, in the United States thousands of deadly fires are started by children. Most of these fires could be prevented if parents were better informed about the hazards of leaving cigarette lighters and matches within the reach of young children. Some of these fires are started intentionally by adolescents.


Perhaps even sadder than the death and destruction caused by children setting fires, is the fact that most of these tragedies could be prevented through a program that includes; fire safety education, awareness and counseling regarding children and fire.

No single group is more familiar with the problem of child and adolescent firesetting than our nation's firefighters. They witness the ugly results of deadly fires everyday. They know how most fires can be prevented. That is why the Fire-Service has taken bold steps, by establishing programs like FireWatch to prevent juvenile firesetting, and help keep our children and their families safe.

Reason Children Light Fires

Children are naturally curious about fire. Indeed, most children are fascinated by it. This naturally curiosity is the cause of most fires set by young children. Usually they find a lighter or matches and, through imitation, experimentation or just plain carelessness a fire results.

Some children may set fires intentionally. Many experts believe that this group of youngsters set fires because they are experiencing some sort of emotional strain, such as a divorce, impending move or maybe a death in the family. More often than not, these children intentionally set fires more than once. No matter what the circumstances that cause these children to use fire, the results can be tragic.


FireWatch is an independent consortium composed of firefighters, law enforcement personnel, educators, mental health professionals and concerned citizens who are eager to help extinguish the problem of youthful firesetting. FireWatch is a fire and burn prevention program operating out of Cherry Hill Fire Department.

The FireWatch program coordinates such interventions as fire safety awareness, burn prevention education, family counseling as well as anger management / conflict resolution and parenting skills. FireWatch also serves as an advocate for responsible fire prevention legislation and regulations in New Jersey and throughout the country.

To refer a juvenile to the FireWatch Program, please complete the referral form (PDF) you can email Tammy DeLucca the completed form. Depending on the assessed needs of the child and family, one or more of the above mentioned interventions may be recommended. All children who enter FireWatch will receive Fire Safety Education. All information collected at FireWatch is confidential.