Elements, Degrees, Punishment
At COMMON LAW, the malicious burning or exploding of the dwelling house of another, or the burning of a building within the curtilage, the immediate surrounding space, of the dwelling of another.
Modern legislation has extended the definition of arson to include the burning or exploding of commercial and public buildings—such as restaurants and schools—and structures—such as bridges. In many states, the act of burning any insured dwelling, regardless of whether it belongs to another, constitutes arson if it is done with an intent to defraud the insurer. Finally, the common-law rule that the property burned must belong to another person has been completely eliminated by statute in some states.