ROCK ISLAND-- Although Valentine's Day is the day for love, it can also be remembered for loves lost. And firefighters say that strong emotion can be seen everyday, sometimes with serious consequences.
Investigating the cause of a fire is something Rock Island Fire Marshal Greg Marty has done hundreds of times, so he's familiar with signs of heart break.
"If you look right here, this lump of stuff, that was the ex-lover's clothes," explains Marty as he shows a picture of the aftermath of a Rock Island fire.
This fire in a Rock Island bedroom has a name, revenge fire. It's when someone intentionally sets something on fire to get back at someone else.
"Revenge is usually about making a statement. And that's why its usually emotionally significant items involved in the fire," says Marty.
He's seen it all.
"Piles of clothes on the bed, items that may have been significant to one or the other, or maybe something that had been a gift," says Marty.
And what can start off as an innocent attempt at ridding yourself of your ex can get out of hand within minutes.
"They may be trying to make a certain statement, but the fire does what it does, and it continues to grow til we get there," says Marty.
So ladies and gents, if you're feeling the fury of a fiery breakup, Fire Marshal Marty has some advice for you.
"We would probably recommend they watch Dr. Phil, eat chocolates, have a nice dinner and early bed time. Please don't set anything on fire."
No need to add any burning love to the hurt.
Revenge fires are considered arson, intentionally starting a fire in a place where there shouldn't be one. Fire Marshal Marty says they're actually the second most common form of arson behind fires set for profit.