Insurance company accuses man of building Rube Goldberg machine to burn his house down

And all the instruments agree that
Her temperature’s rising
But any idiot would know that


Fire investigations are part of my forensic engineering practice. You’d be surprised at how “clever” some arsonists try to be. Note: I’m not saying whather the fire described in the article is or is not a set fire. That’s someone else’s job.

My favorite was a burned vehicle I examined once. The owner was behind on the payments. The car “suddenly caught fire” in a parking lot. Of course, the open can of camp fuel (ie White Gas) and the matchbook with one missing match still in the passenger’s seat – all still with the receipt from WalMart, spoke fairly loudly during the investigation. See, modern cars are tightly built. If all the windows are up and the vents are closed, most fires, even those with accelerants, will self-extinguish quickly because there’s not enough oxygen available to sustain the fire.

Dumb arsonists take all the irreplacable stuff like wedding photographs and important papers out of the house, then invent some way to torch the place when they have an alibi. Smart arsonists put a pan on the stovetop, dump a pound of bacon in it, turn the burner all the way up, and take a walk or drive. They can then return home to see the fire department hosing the place down.

“Oops, I left a pan on the stove when I left home” as an arson technique is indistinguishable from a dumb mistake. Dumb mistakes are a covered loss, at least in the USA.




He was tired of his mustard collection and all of his Ikea furniture?


“I, ah, just one more thing: What were you going to do with six pounds of bacon?”


Wouldn’t any self respecting hipster have a list ready?

  • small-batch bacon bourbon
  • crumbled bacon is added to shipping excelsior surrounding co-op’s artisinal steampunk espresso machines
  • bookmarks
  • siding/roofing
  • swizzle sticks
  • bacon leather (wallets, pants, driving gloves)
  • etc.

You know where that goes.


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