When Pennsylvania residents hear the term “playing with fire,” they may not think about arson. However, this offense is a serious one and people who commit this crime may find themselves facing felony charges.

FindLaw says that people commit arson when they intentionally set fire to a building or a person’s property. This property can include people’s boats and cars or their forested land. There are many different categories of arson and a court typically considers whether people sustained injuries or died because of the fire. Someone who commits arson may face more serious consequences if people got hurt during the incident. Because arson has the ability to hurt people, this offense is usually a felony.

People might commit arson for a variety of reasons. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, someone might set a fire as an act of vandalism. This person might burn school buildings and property. Others may commit arson to get attention. In this situation, a person might set fire to vacant buildings and dumpsters to experience a thrill. Sometimes a wildland firefighter might start a fire for financial gain, as he or she may receive payment for working to put the fire out.

Sometimes a person might commit arson to get revenge on someone else. In this situation, people may burn property, buildings and cars, even if they imagined the perceived injustice. Additionally, someone might turn to arson if he or she wants to make a profit. If a person will financially profit from the destruction of store inventory, for example, he or she might burn the warehouse with this inventory to receive a payout. Sometimes arson can also be part of a larger crime. Someone might start a fire to remove evidence from a crime scene or cover up a different offense.