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tv   Up to the Minute  CBS  November 7, 2011 3:05am-4:00am EST

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yeah, but larry gets it for his intro class every year. so a student could get their hands on it. colby: hold on a second. if he uses gasoline for the suv, why not use it for the booth? that would have been easier. it's more like choosing a poison that wouldn't show up in an autopsy. so you're saying they intended to kill whoever opened the door? you know, larry posited that the character of the fire will reveal the character of the person who set it. yeah. larry's right. and the person who set this fire is a murderer.
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up to 300 of those bottles out of the equation. ♪ up to 300 of those bottles like so many great pioneers before me, guided only by a dream. i'm embarking on a journey of epic proportion. i will travel, from sea to shining sea, through amber waves of grain, and i won't stop until i've helped every driver in america save hundreds on car insurance. well i'm out of the parking lot. that's a good start. geico, fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent, or more on car insurance. the security booth fire is an intentional homicide. the e.l.m. has no history of murder. yeah, but these nuts hide five-inch spikes in the trunks of trees. if nobody dies, that's just luck. i'm not defending their methods, but the e.l.m. has stuck to environmental targets-- construction projects, chemical pollutants. the injuries have been unintentional. well, not that dealership fire, right? i mean, that was designed to kill. yeah, so either that wasn't the e.l.m. or...
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or else their membership just got a hell of a lot less exclusive. the roommate said jake was in touch with people from oregon, right? online. yeah, but i checked his e-mails, i.m.'s and phone records, and i didn't find anything. what about chat rooms? find out who their i.s.p. is, and subpoena their records, all right? used to be this garage was for laundry and parking a car. sorry. all my cognitive emergence theory work's over there, so we had to expand out. my god. you're pretty sure you can identify a single arsonist? i'm not trying to identify a particular person. i'm using principle components analysis and i'm inputting 600 variables to quantify 5,000 fires to create a database that links the fires to the people that set them. we're calling it a fireprint. what's the next variable? piloted ignition temperature. piloted ignition what? it's describing a fire that needs a spark to ignite itself.
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oh. it's like a fuse being lit. the match and the fuse together both pilot the fire. how else does a fire get started? spontaneous combustion. yeah. a gas being heated to the point of producing a flame without there being an outside source. and that would be an un-piloted fire, right? yeah, but you have this one described over here as a piloted and un-piloted fire. you know, the s.u.v. fire was started when gasoline was ignited by a flame-- piloted. but the booth fire was caused by heat rising to the point of oxidation-- un-piloted. that's right. the explosion of flame was caused by the combination of hot gases and the oxidation of hydrogen peroxide. that's a very complicated way of setting a fire. it is. well, i mean, shouldn't they be considered two separate fires? i mean, for this to be considered a fingerprint, then shouldn't every fire have only one set of fingers? that's exactly right. one fire designed to kill, the other isn't. there's two different agendas. two different arsonists.
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hey. hey. so jake eckworth's internet service provider downloaded everything from his i.p. address. and? well, turns out, he was using two different screen names and passwords. first one was fairly straightforward. earthavenger. his password was his birthday. but finding the password to the second screen name has been an entirely different story. yeah, it looks like eckworth used a diffie-hellman encryption code. ( whistles ) basically, impossible to crack. and i'm guessing we're gonna find all the good stuff behind that encrypted password. his second screen name is nanotube? yeah. sounds like a nerd porno star, huh? shows me where your head is at, granger. it's a technical term. i heard it used the other day... when i was interviewing ethan powell. how sure are you? mathematically, i'm almost positive. you see, when fires are being investigated, several elements are studied, elements that form together to create a fire signature.
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but unlike handwriting, elements of the fire signature are more general and less individually specific. elements like scorch marks, rate of burn, accelerants, gas, acetone, kerosene, alcohol. so, i created a more specific analysis, just like i did with the theory of fingerprinting. i thought you didn't like fingerprinting. i don't. the points of comparison aren't standardized. now with fingerprints, it's generally believed that no two are the same. well, that level of specificity allows you to find matches with as little as seven points of commonality. my fireprint analysis uses over 600 precise variables projected down to a 15-dimensional hyperplane. so we have 15 numerical coordinates to match that level of specificity. now... these are the fireprints from the two fires set at the s.u.v. dealership. mm-hmm. they're not the same. two different patterns. when i ran these comparisons against other fires set in l.a., i found matches. the s.u.v. fire was nearly identical
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to three other previous e.l.m. fires. but the security booth fire was extremely dissimilar. so someone else set that fire. that's the theory. all right, so two arsonists. charlie: yeah. when i ran the security booth fire against my database, i found 17 identical fires going back almost five years. five years? and none, not one of them, had any environmental agenda or even the remotest connection to the e.l.m. so one guy sets a typical e.l.m. fire in the s.u.v... and the other guy sets the security booth fire, only that one is intended to actually kill somebody. a leader and a follower. it's leopold and loeb. leopold and who? it was the most sensational murder of the 1920s. these two guys killed a little boy simply to prove that they could. loeb was the dominant personality, and leopold looked up to him. ( cell phone rings ) jake eckworth. ethan powell. eppes. yeah. on our way. okay. another fire. how is that possible? eckworth's been under surveillance.
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yeah, but ethan hasn't been. ( sirens blaring ) it's arson. e.l.m. again. the fire was contained to the sixth floor. what's up there? oil exploration company. they have bids in to drill in alaska. what exactly happened? standard teams went in, got up there, flashover hit six guys before they had a chance to get out. what's flashover? when everything in the room ignites at once. charlie: what might have prevented the entire building from burning? fire doors must have done their job. lucky for us, huh? fire doors, my ass. that fire wasn't meant to burn the building, it was meant to hit those men.
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let's say the arsonist, or arsonists, plural, know how to engineer a back draft. then doesn't it stand to reason that they could create a flashover? well, look, we're talking about a serial killer now, right? yeah. who's using fires as a weapon. wow. it'[ bottle #2 ] i heard magic eraserit came from space. no. from a very clean alien civilization. that's crazy. crazy clean. what?! come on. [ male announcer ] mr. clean magic eraser bath scrubber. its clean is out of this world. and tea to choose from. it's the way to individually brew fresh, delicious coffee in under a minute. way to brew, hon.
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likely, used an accelerant. stevens: there was no accelerant. hang in there, man. i double-checked the thermodynamics myself. there was no accelerant. if you don't mind-- this is me just being me- i'd like to recheck those calculations. please. i am just about at the end of my rope. how long were the men up there? no more than a few seconds. and that was sufficient to cause all this? it shouldn't have been. continue, please. well, this was a fairly typical fire. i mean, given it was a high rise, it presented certain logistical problems, but nothing that these guys shouldn't have been able to handle. i mean, they hooked their hoses to the standpipe, okay? what is that, the standpipe? the building's water supply pipe. it's firefighter use only. and it was functioning properly? the truck's computer said it had all the water it needed. this fire should have been out in a few minutes. then why didn't it go out? that's the same question i have six families asking me right now. that's it. it's all there.
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so you set all the fires? your buddy jake had nothing to do with it, huh? yep. it was all me. first degree murder, that's life in prison if you're lucky. that's a big weight to carry alone. you still don't think i'm capable of it, do you? my i.q. is over 160. what i didn't think you were capable of was being this stupid. you need to sign it the bottom, initial each page. ( sighs ) maybe he's telling the truth. charlie's fireprint proves that there were two different arsonists
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at that car dealership. and one of them is intentionally trying to kill people. i don't think ethan has that in him. press relations has already issued a release saying we found our guy. you know, 300 years ago, london burned to the ground, and the guy that confessed to it wasn't even in london the night of the fire. but they didn't realize that till two days after they hanged him. sometimes, people say things to be noticed because sometimes, being ignored is worse than being blamed. charlie: steven's calculations were correct. there was no accelerant and the computer read-out on the truck was functioning properly. yeah, okay, small fire, no accelerant, a sufficiency of water. the fire should have been extinguished in minutes. yeah. and reality agrees. the fire goes out. ( alan clears throat ) you know, i'm not even going to ask.
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okay, look, there was another fire, and, apparently, a signed confession does not satisfy professor eppes' standard of guilt. charlie: i sort of understand what it's like to be this kid, ethan powell. you know... my freshman year at princeton, there were times i where pretty desperate to fit in, any way i could. alan: what are you saying? that you are who you are because of just dumb luck? that you were just one roommate away from being a pyromaniac? no, of course not. that's clearly not what i mean. alan: good. because that wouldn't say much for the time that your mother and i put into raising you, he makes a good point, charles. you know, there's just something i don't understand. dad, you know about fire suppression systems. you know about standpipes and sprinklers. alan: yeah, of course. that was one of the highest priorities and one of the biggest headaches for a city planner. so answer me this. how could firefighters have adequate enough water pressure and still not be able to put out a fire? let me show you. larry. turn the water on, okay? high. yeah. alan: all right.
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now turn it lower. okay. slowly. not off. that's it. there. dad, that's pascal's principle. water distributes its force uniformly, there's no way to tell how much water volume there is based on the pressure. fire hoses... have nozzles that automatically maintain high pressure, just like your thumb just did. and the pressure created by the nozzle hid the actual amount of water flowing through their hoses. so they were fooled into thinking they had normal amounts of water. which means between the water supply and the fire fighters on the sixth floor... the actual water volume decreased. which suggests that someone tampered with the standpipe. dad, who would know how a building's standpipe system works?
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contractors, plumbers, firemen, engineers. i got to go talk to don. yeah, but i still have to take a shower, you know. no, thanks. okay, all right. the arsonist tampered with the standpipe and reduced the water volume to a point that the firemen couldn't detect. the water pressure seemed normal when they turned their hoses on. which would take a pretty sophisticated understanding of engineering. which ethan certainly has. now, there are other factors, as well. remember, he character of the fire... should match the character of the person that set it. and whoever set the booth fire was clearly expecting a fireman to be the first responder. firemen were clearly the targets at the high-rise, as well, so your second arsonist is setting traps for firefighters. which doesn't fit ethan. he's trying to impress jake, and the e.l.m., and his peers. doesn't that give us only half the team? yeah, well, he ain't talking, so... because he wants to take full credit for this. he doesn't understand what he's taking credit for is murder.
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why did you bring me back here? megan: because i want the truth. i already told you the truth. you only told me part of it. you think this makes you cool? you think this is gonna make other people look up to you? look, i told you everything i'm gonna tell you. yeah. that's why i brought someone here for you to talk to. what are you doing here? they told me what was going on. well, thanks for coming down, but i got it under control. i don't think so, dude. i don't care what you think. i think maybe you do care. i think maybe you care too much what i think. don't flatter yourself, jake. you know, sometimes, you can be a real jerk, ethan. you have any idea what it's like to be around a kid who thinks he knows everything and usually does? this guy you're protecting? he used you, ethan. he wanted your engineering skills to help him create more elaborate fires. i don't know what you're talking about. don't lie to them anymore, ethan. you set it up for me to meet him in glendale, remember?
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dude, he wants to kill people. you're wrong. what happened to that salesman was an accident. when have you ever made an accident in engineering, ethan? i mean, come on, you had to have some idea what this guy was doing. you wanted to join the e-l-m, right? you wanted us all to think that you could handle what we're all about. then show me now you can handle it, and tell them what they want to know. there are six firefighters in a hospital, fighting for their lives. dude, it's okay. ( sighs ) i don't know his name. we only talked online. megan: then give me your password to your second screen name, and we can trace him from your account. ethan, you have to help us find him before he hurts someone else.
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back after you spend $500 in the first three months. get your cash back. call or visit our website to apply. i've got a line on the kid's isp, which is giving me a back trace to his chat room buddy. links up to a computer at 200 anaheim street. don: anaheim street. where's that? station 117 firehouse. lafd. specifically, the arson investigation squad. how do you know that? remember i said that the one fireprint linked 17 fires over 5 years. yeah. guess who investigated all 17 of those fires? stevens. perfect-- he sets fires he knows he's going to investigate. yeah, because it's easy to look smart
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when you know everything about the fire. because you're the one who set it. he was using me all along. megan: serial arsonists have a driving need to prove they're smarter than everyone else. stevens applied for the los angeles fire department eight years ago, and didn't pass the screening. he got a job at a smaller city and then worked his way back to l.a. we got two teams up at stevens's house. chp, pd, and sheriff's department have all been alerted, but there's no sign of his car yet. megan, do you think he's the type to run? no. he's enjoyed this too much to let it end with a ride to mexico-- he's gonna need to teach us a lesson. every fire he set required days, really even weeks of planning. plus, he definitely saw us talking at that last fire, so he knows we're close. which makes him dangerous and in a hurry. he was going to meet jake at the glendale development. colby: that's right-- now, why there? unless he's planning a strike. yeah. all right, you come with me. we need tactical and fire prevention units up to verdugo ridge, asap! megan: okay. i don't see why he needed ethan. he wanted bigger and deadlier fires, charlie. ethan's engineering skills could help him do that. by pretending that he needed my help with the arson investigations. he did need your help, charlie.
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serial killers will often contact the police if an investigation stalls. they know they're going to keep hurting people. they want someone to stop them. may i? you did good. ( wind howling ) ( sirens wailing ) ( tires screeching ) stevens! stevens, it's over! you hear me?! megan: we know what happened to you eight years ago. we know that the los angeles fire department turned you down.
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stevens: they said i wasn't good enough. megan: i understand. we know better-- we know what you're capable of. paul. white phosphorous. if this hits the air, it explodes. okay. kind of fire that really makes an impression. okay, let's just take it easy. okay? paul, just listen to me. back up. paul? back up! i'm backing up. everybody back up. slowly. we're backing up-- just relax. trust me, i know what i'm talking about. let's just talk. paul, don't. whatever you're thinking, don't do it. i'm getting out of here. don't do it! ow!
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( grunts ): damn it. dad, dad, dad. oh, boy. hey, guys. what, you got, plumbing problems again? more like one of charlie's hands-on investigations. i used the shower for a standpipe. now we're having a hard time un-using it. hey, that kid took a plea bargain. he did? how many years. three years. boy, one wrong decision, his whole life's almost ruined. yeah. well, sometimes, that's all it takes. charlie: you know, i know what it's like to be that kid. i wished that i was a normal college kid sometimes. kind of tough when you're still in puberty. alan: yeah, well, i'm sure there were plenty of kids who wished they were you. uh, during midterms, certainly. at keg parties, absolutely not. how about at shop class? what do you mean? i mean, how about we call a plumber? dad, i can... give me the wrench. give me it. you can't do it. and we're sending the bill to the fbi. here, give it to me, i'll do it. here. all right. come on, put your hand on this valve. okay. ( grunting ): okay. i'm telling you this, if the toilet goes, you're on your own. just hold it. oh...
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just hold it. ow. that's my hand. all right. that's my finger! ow! captioning sponsored by cbs and paramount network television captioned by media access group at wgbh
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