Two Suspicious Fires Reported in an Hour
March 7th, 2006 @ 12:00pm
Gene Kennedy reporting

Two fires broke out less than an hour apart overnight in Kearns. Investigators say the fires may be related, and they suspect arson.

Lt. Rod Norton / Salt Lake County Sheriff's Dept.: "As we took a closer look at it, the fire department and our investigators think it was not an accident, that it was intentionally set."

Fire investigators have been working all morning, looking for more clues into two suspicious fires from overnight.

Investigators are now saying they are certain both fires were intentionally set.

The big question now: Did the same person do that? Several facts make that a possibility: The fact that both fires were merely miles apart and that they happened within an hour of each other.

Fortunately fire fighters got on scene as quickly at they did, or it could have spread to several neighboring buildings.

Around three this morning, a garage attached to the La Palapa Juice Bar went up in flames. The garage is total loss, but fire fighters were able to contain the flames so that it didn't spread.

Fire investigators have told KSL the garage was left open. They think someone walked by and just lit it on fire.

About an hour before that, a van went up in flames outside Meang Automotive near 4700 South 4800 West in Kearns. Fortunately, fire fighters put it out before it spread to the repair garage where there was a gas main close by.

In that incident, someone saw a person leaving the scene.

Lt. Rod Norton, Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office: "We did have one caller state that there was a male walking in the area at the time that call came in. So this person would merely be a person of interest at this time. White male, thin build. About 6 foot, wearing a black coat and black beanie. So we are looking for that person. Looking to see if he has any information for us or if he could have possibly been involved."

In both fires, easy access led to the crime. According to the automotive shop's owner, a van was left unlocked outside the business, and the owner thinks someone was sleeping in the vehicle.

Unified Fire Authority says that fire started on the passenger side of the van. But in terms of this person of interest, investigators don't know who they're looking for. The description of that person is very vague.