August 28, 2007

Burning Man Set on Fire Early Due To Arson

Torched Burning Man sculpture.
by Scott Beale
Laughing Squid

Wow, this is a shocker. At around 3 am Tuesday morning at Burning Man 2007, during a rare lunar eclipse, the Burning Man sculpture was set on fire prematurely (it is normally burned on Saturday). The Black Rock City Emergency Services Department was able to put out the fire in time and salvage the sculpture (it had not yet been loaded with fuel or explosives). It is still scheduled for its normal burn on Saturday and they will be working throughout the week to repair any burn damage and re-install the neon.

UPDATE: They plan on re-building the man, complete with neon within 72 hours.

The early burn is being investigated as arson (there are reports a man armed with a propane torch starting the fire). According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, authorities have already arrested one person. Another source says that the man was set ablaze early due to an electrical problem when they turned the neon early for the lunar eclipse. Burning Man organizers hope to have more information later today.

Here’s an announcement from Burning Man regarding the fire:

Black Rock City Emergency Services Department units responded from Stations Three, Five, and Nine and put the fire out within approximately 23 minutes. There were no reported injuries. The Man is still standing, and an assessment is underway to determine the structural integrity of The Man and the Green Man Pavilion. The event will continue as scheduled.

An arson investigation is currently under way, and is ongoing. There is no confirmed cause of ignition at this time.

No further information is available at this time. More information will be released tomorrow morning after the investigation can safely be concluded.

UPDATE: Paul David Addis, a San Francisco based artist and performer, was arrested in connection with the arson. Joe Garofoli from the San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the person arrested in connection with the arson is Paul David Addis, a San Francisco based artist and performer. Paul is being held in the Pershing County Jail in Lovelock, Nevada on charges of arson, possession of fireworks, destruction of property and resisting a public officer.