Friday, August 2, 2013

June Ann Olsen’s Burning Hatred: Miami 1962


NOTE: Some of the older sources give the name as "Olson" rather than "Olsen." We have selected "Olsen" based on the fact this spelling was used in the 1993 book cited below.

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EXCERPT (Article 1 of 6): Take June Ann Olsen, a fresh-faced blonde who once burned down an entire Miami city block [in 1962]. She would lure men, including a famous TV producer, into motel rooms. After they were undressed, she would slosh lighter fluid onto the bed and torch it. “You ought to see them run,” she told [Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Edna Buchanan].

Next time I saw her name, it was on a police report; she was dead. Though many amateur arsonists die trapped by their own flames, June Ann Olsen did not. She was struck and killed by a train. Nothing about arson is funny — or harmless.

[Edna Buchanan, never let them see you cry: more from Miami, America’s Hottest Beat, Berkley Pub., 1993, p. 150]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 6): Miami – June Ann Olson, a 41-year-old blonde who once said she lured men into hotel rooms and then set fire to their beds, is back in jail on a charge of arson.

She was arrested Wednesday when she was found wandering in a section of northeast Miami where six fires started within 90 minutes.

The fires, all within a four block square, were put out before much damage was done. But a 50-year old man was slightly burned at an apartment house, and two elderly women had to be rescued from their second floor rooms.

Fire inspector Franklin McCrimmon, to whom Miss Olson surrendered in 1962 after she escaped from the South Florida State Hospital, said he found her wandering in the area looking a little dazed.

Miss Olson was charged with three spectacular fires in 1962.

“I just hate men,” she said then, according to police. “They ought to stop the world – and push them all off..”


After she escaped from the hospital in 1962, she was sent to the Lowell State Prison for women where she spent 25 months.

She was paroled last year and worked for a time at the Salvation Army center in Ocala. Her employer said she was very capable.

The six fires all started among clothing, magazines or trash.

Three other fires were reported blocks away, nearer downtown.

[“Man Hater Held After Fires Set,” syndicated (AP), Sarasota Journal (Fl.),  Jan. 27, 1966, p. 10]

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FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 6): Nine fires broke out in two sections of Miami early today [January 26, 1966] and police quickly nabbed suspected firebug June Ann Olsen, who once confessed she set fires to get even with men.

The 41-year old blonde was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital for further investigation. She is a former inmate of the South Florida mental Hospital and of the state prison for women at Lowell.

One man was slightly burned in the biggest fire, in an apartment building at 246 NE 33rd St. Heroic rescue efforts saved other occupants. Two elderly women were taken down ladders from their second floor apartments.

Miss Olsen’s last connection with fires in this area was in 1962 when she was charged with setting three spectacular blazes. Police said at the time she would pick up men and take them to the rooms with a promise of romance. Instead, she would set the bed on fire, they said.

Joes Mazanek, 50, of NE 33rd St., ran out of his house when he heard screams next door and rescued Mrs. Eleanor Hose with a ladder from the burning building.

Fire Chief Charles Jones of Miami District 2 climbed a ladder to rescue another occupant, Mrs. Mary Harrison, who was sitting on the ledge of her window.

Five other fires were reported in the same area. At 3300 Biscayne, a pile of papers blared up behind an apartment building. At 337 NE 33rd St., a mattress burned in a garage apartment. At 250 NE 32nd St., and ironing board and broom burned in the utility room of an apartment building. At 247 NE 31st St., papers burned in a rear garage. And at 3115 NE 2nd Ave., the rear room of a barber shop was damaged by a fire that was started among clothing and magazines.

Meanwhile, District 1 firemen downtown got busy. Their first call was to the Pink Flamingo Hotel at 28 NE 5th St. where they put out a minor fire.

A vacant and condemned house in the path of the expressway at 350 NW 9th St. was gutted by fire a few minutes later. And at 29 SW 6th Ave., a rooming house at the rear of Robert’s Drug Store was severely damaged.

[Charles O. Krueger, “9 Fires Hit Miami, Firebug Held,” The Miami News (Fl.), Jan. 26, 1966, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 6): Dade’s Incendiary Blonde, June Ann Olsen, was arrested on arson charges after a series of closet blazes early today.

Miss Olsen, 41, who once confessed she set fires to get even with men,  already was out on $500 bond after being arrested here Jan. 26. Nine fires broke out in two sections of the city that day.

When four fires broke out in a short time early today, and a woman was reported seen in the area, police started looking for Miss Olsen.

Patrolman Louis Kirchoff spotted her strolling along Biscayne Boulevard at 48th Street at about 2:30 a.m. she was arrested on charges of first degree arson and booked into Dade County Jail.

Found in her purse were $38 cash and a bottle of 100 barbiturate (Nembutal) tablets.

The fires started at 1:55 a.m., when firemen were sent to an apartment building at 311 NE 14th St to quell a blaze in a hall closet. Five minutes later, the fire-fighters were called to another closet fire in a building a block away, at Bayshore Drive and NE 13th Street.

Then, about 15 minutes later, they were off to a building at 310 SE 1st. Ct. this time, there were two close fires – one on the first floor, and one on the third.

The man-hating blonde also is wanted by Fort Lauderdale police for questioning about a fire Sunday at a senior citizen’s apartment. She fits the description of a woman who was laughing and singing outside the apartment after the fire started.

Miss Olsen has undergone psychiatric treatment for pyromania and once served a prison term for arson, she said she set fires to get even with men for making passes at her.

She has a history of picking up men with a promise of romance – and instead, setting the bed on fire, police said.

[Charles O. Krueger, “4 More Blazes Start Here, Blonde Firebug Back In Jail,” The Miami News (Fl.), Feb. 11, 1966, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 5 of 6): Miami – June Ann Olsen, a 42-year-old blonde who admits she has set 25 or more fires in the past six years, was back in jail Wednesday, after taking a taxi to police headquarters. She escaped from Lowell State Prison for Women in Massachusetts Jan. 11 and made her way to Miami where fire officials know her well.

[“Arsonist Back In Jail,” syndicated (AP), Daytona Beach Morning Journal (Fl.), Jan. 26, 1967, p. 3]

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EXCERPT (Article 6 of 6): [Miami Fire Marshal David Teems] said the 1971 death of June Ann Olson, Miami’s best known fire bug, seemed the end of an era, Olsen hated men and would lure them to a hotel room so she could set fire to the place when the man went to sleep. Ironically, said, Teems, she died of burns suffered in an auto accident.

[Jack Roberts, “False alarm figures ring true,” The Miami News (Fl.), Aug. 3, 1979, p. p. 5A]

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For more cases of misandric fixation see: What Is Misandric Fixation?

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