“My Name is Kyle, and I’m an Alcoholic…Oh, and I also Burn Down Buildings.”

An AA near Chicago has talked his judge into allowing him to attend his AA meetings while he is out on bond awaiting trial. It just makes sense that since his character flaws include burglary and setting buildings on fire, he should be focusing in on dialing down his drinking:

Libertyville man charged in arsons may attend Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

“Kowal is accused of setting four fires and burglarizing the Picnic Basket Restaurant on Milwaukee Avenue during the morning of March 24.

No one was injured in the fires, which broke out separately in residences in the 200 block of Homewood Drive at about 3 a.m. and then about an hour later in the 200 block of West Cook Street, fire officials have said. Both of those homes sustained significant damage, authorities have said.

The third and fourth fires occurred sometime during the overnight hours in two unsecured garages in the 200 block of Homewood Drive and the 300 block of Laurel Avenue, causing minor damage to those properties, authorities have said.

Drobinski alleged that Kowal has admitted in handwritten confessions to setting the fires. Residents, including children, were asleep in all of the homes at the times the fires occurred, he said.”

I’m guessing his drink of choice was the “Flaming Moe.”

  • Lucy

    My kid is watching the Simpsons right now, and when I got to the Flaming Moe part of this post, the water I was swallowing got caught in a laugh and came out my nose.

    Well done, MA.

  • Jonny Quest

    “Drobinski alleged that Kowal has admitted in handwritten confessions to setting the fires. Residents, including children, were asleep in all of the homes at the times the fires occurred, he said.”

    WHAT ?!?!!!? Man, if I ever get caught with anything, I’ll have to use the old “I’m an alcoholic” excuse…

  • AnnaZed

    Again, what is it with AA guys and the arson thing? Arsonists are a very low form of human in my view, “sick” quite likely, but it’s a very low, sneaky and cowardly form of sickness.

  • I’m reminded just a little bit of the Larry Froistad case (as in both cases involve getting drunk and starting a fire). If you don’t remember it it’s a bit horrifying (yes, someone dies), but you can google the name to learn all about it. At the time I was on an email list with “person x” (don’t remember the name at the moment) on it, who was also on the other, infamous email list with Froistad. How different people on that list reacted is yet another revealing story.

  • MikeAugustine

    Well I guess he had a burning desire and what not. An old timer woman was run out of my town a few years ago after the second house she was renting burned down under somewhat mysterious circumstances. The fire marshal and police couldn’t tie her to it, but they made her life miserable enough to send her packing.

    She was also quite the sponsor, demanding from one sponsee that the woman relinquish to her a spare set of house keys so that she could check up on her. The woman was wise enough to fire (no pun intended) her, and by doing so probably saved her house if not her life.

  • The most important diagnostic categories of arson recidivists were personality disorders, psychosis and mental retardation, often with comorbid alcoholism. In all, 68% of arsonists were under alcohol intoxication during the index crime. Psychotic as well as mentally retarded persons with repeated fire-setting behaviour were mostly “pure arsonists”- persons guilty only of arsons during their criminal careers. Arson recidivists with personality disorder, in contrast, often exhibited various types of criminal behaviour and arson appeared to be only one expression of a wide range of criminal activity. Comorbid alcoholism was apparently a more rarely observed phenomenon among pure arsonists than in “nonpure arsonists”. We found only three subjects fulfilling the present diagnostic criteria for pyromania.


  • Lucy

    As Anna Zed said, it’s the chicken shit side of arson that appeals to them.

    Arson is like a form of insurance against bankruptcy for some of the near foreclosure home and business owners in distresse areas. In fact, it is literally the number one crime in certain areas of Detroit now and they have whole areas which the police designate as high risk.

    I wonder if it’s like a weird kind of stress relief for a disorder as JR said? Like compulsive pica or hair pulling or bulemia? Something to “get away with?”

    I am glad those kids were safe.

  • DeConstructor

    Another case of smoking more and enjoying it less.

  • DSM Diagnostic criteria for 312.33 Pyromania


  • Disclosure

    If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.

  • SoberPJ

    Yep, Here we are with the AA member and arson thing again. A new twist I found was a relationship with sexual deviance, which makes a whole lot more sense here. A manual was mentioned and I haven’t had time to look at it – Sexual Homocide Motives and Patterns, Anatomy of a Motive and The Crime Classification

    I’ll bet our AA fire bugs are in there. Many of the AA arsonist’s that have been profiled here were trying to kill people with fire or covering up murders they have commited by burning the people up.

    There is definitely a correlation between AA members and arson and I would bet it is much higher than with the normal population.