Mick Rory was obsessed with fire from his childhood. He would stare at flames, and try to hold them He even set his house on fire and couldn’t take his eyes of the flames long enough to run to a neighbor for help. Before that, he had wanted to be a fireman.
At school, Heat Wave always wore winter clothes inside. The kids made fun on this. This led to a friend locking him in a walk-in freezer as a joke during a school field trip. Mick escaped, and was compelled to lock his friend in his house, and set it on fire. Mick often cited this freezer incident (leaving his friend’s part out of it) as a trauma that left him with an intense fear of cold.
He ran away from home, eventually joining a circus as a fire-eater. He was happy and thought he had his obsession under control, but it broke loose again, and he burned down the circus.