Photographer Faces Felony Charge After Setting House on Fire and Burning His Hair Off During Shoot

Photographer Faces Felony Charge After Setting House on Fire and Burning His Hair Off During Shoot

A Utah photographer is facing felony arson and criminal trespass charges after police say he set fire to a house on Valentine's day for a shoot, resulting in damage to the home and burning his eyebrows and facial hair off.

The photographer, Thomas Shea, was involved in the incident on Valentine's Day. A fire in Woodland was reported to Summit County authorities, and when they arrived at the scene, they discovered Shea with his coat partially melted and his eyebrows and facial hair singed off. Shea was then taken for treatment in a hospital. He initially told officers he had approached the house as a photographer after seeing smoke emanating from it. However, once he was released from the hospital and authorities discovered evidence of arson, Shea admitted he had come to the home with camera equipment and a five-gallon jug of gasoline and intentionally set the fire to shoot it. In fact, Shea lit three fires, extinguishing the first two himself. However, the third fire grew beyond his control, leading to his burns as he tried to extinguish it. 

The fire caused $5,000 in damage to the house in addition to Shea's injuries.

Lead image by Marc Gallant, used under Creative Commons. 

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Dan Grayum's picture

But did he get the shot?

Miha Me's picture

Third time's the charm.

William Nicholson's picture

Maybe it is on his "Stupid Tube Channel"

anya-adora's picture


Tony Clark's picture

It sounded good in his head as he turned to his buddy and said, hold my beer.

Dan Grayum's picture

As all great ideas happen

Bruce Pryde's picture

Hope they didn't spill any.

The article states the man is a photographer, but that seems solely based on the fact that he photographs himself with a cellphone.... By that definition 99% of the world population is now a photographer. This means that Fstoppers will be flooded with articles about people doing incomprehensible things.

Eric Ventress's picture

Because we all know that it’s the type of camera that you use that determines if you’re a photographer or not... 🙄

Cool gatekeeping, bro.

No, but if this is news worthy of posting on FStopper, I expect a "photographer" to be someone with a business or at least a noteable presence on the Internet. If FStopper thinks anyone with a smartphone who photographs himself doing stupid things and getting arrested for it is worth reporting about, then we're in for a treat.

And yet those are the people who are getting photography banned in place after place...

jim hughes's picture

Right. A guy who wanted to set a house on fire and put it on YouTube isn't necessarily a "photographer", although that makes it a better story.

William Nicholson's picture

Sucks that he didn't get the shot on his high end equipment to post to "You Stupid", been cool to watch his dumb ass burn and hair go poof and high dollar cell phone melt. Been really cool when local cops see video and then bust his ass. WTF, are people that stupid and willing to burn a house to make a few bucks on "Stupid Tube"

Gil Aegerter's picture


Dan Grayum's picture

Arsonist with camera gear.. because the best crimes are the ones you document evidence for your own trial.

William Nicholson's picture

Yea no shit. "It was epic officer"!!!! Tell the DA evidence is on my Stupid Tube channel.

Ian Smith's picture

I think this article should be used to advertise to the folks who don't understand why hiring a professional photographer is any better than hiring "this guy or gal they know" who will shoot their wedding for 200 bucks.

What an IDIOT.

anya-adora's picture

This person should not have access to people's homes, lighters or gas stations. Given what he thought was a good idea in doing this i also question whether or not he should have access to a camera.