Millwood City engineer Scott Daniels, moved from Houston, investigates a series of mysterious fires. Scott's and Lourie Harper's only son Jesse, who hated the move or dad's youth home, fakes a fever and invites his new girlfriend Carmen. She's reporter Allison Saunders, Scott's high-school ex's, daughter and finds Jesse unconscious, overtaken by fumes. The sewers are full of dead rats. Cracks appear in various buildings. Gass leaks start explosive fires. Mayor Walker, who only care for politics and publicity, overrules Scott's call for a mass evacuation. Scott and city administration friend Kenny Barrows later discover the link is steam pressure drilling by Talbot's oil exploration firm, but fire chief Patterson is in league with Talbot for years, covers their tracks and undermines Scott's credibility.