D.C. arsonist admitted to 300+ fires in 2005 proffer, podcast reveals

The true-crime podcast "Arson," developed by the IAAI and made in cooperation with the ATF, brings new details to light in the conviction of Thomas Sweatt


By Leila Merrill

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives made public this week all the fires from the 2005 conviction of Thomas Sweatt, and there are many more of them than previously disclosed.

According to the ATF, a task force linked 50 fires to the arsonist. Sweatt pleaded guilty to 45 fires and was sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole.

He later admitted to a lot more fires during a proffer session with the arson task force as part of a 2005 plea deal.

Information on more than 300 fires set by Sweatt was released to Platform Media through a FOIA request for the true-crime podcast “Arson.”

The show follows the nearly two-year investigation that involved a variety of arson investigators, firefighters, homicide detectives and other law enforcement officers from 15 agencies.

"It’s a story of dedication, of frustration and victories that culminates into an eventual win for law enforcement and the community, but not after much destruction and tragedy,” said Kara McGuirk-Allison, executive producer and host. 

The website for the podcast includes an interactive map of the fires at www.iaaiarson.com.

The International Association of Arson Investigators developed the podcast. The association produced season one in cooperation with the ATF.

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