Fires in Ogden may be work of arsonists

Posted at 5:43 PM, Aug 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-13 12:02:23-04

OGDEN -- Authorities say an arsonist may be to blame for a series of fires that burned along the Ogden River Parkway Sunday night.

Crews were called out twice, extinguishing four fires at River Drive and 21st Street, said Deputy Fire Chief Eric Bauman. Thanks to crews’ rapid response, the fires consumed less than an acre combined.

“What’s challenging is finding out who’s responsible for it,” Bauman said. “When we arrived there was no one on scene, and so we’re relying very heavily on the public to try to get the information out.”

Ogden resident Jennifer Lutz said she was taking out the garbage Sunday night when she saw the flames 150 feet from her home on River Drive. She called 911, grabbed her two cats and pictures, and drove off.

“It just was really fast,” Lutz said.  “It just came really, really fast.”

Firefighters had just arrived at Lutz’s home when dispatchers received a second call reporting three more fires near the 21st Street Pond. Crews quickly subdued all four fires, but investigators are still trying to determine how they started.

“We didn`t have any heat sources,” Bauman said. “There weren’t any ignition sources. There was no lightning in the area at the time. So at this point they`re certainly suspicious and looking intentional.”

Bauman said the charges for starting a fire could range from misdemeanor reckless burning to felony aggravated arson. The department is asking for the public’s help identifying the person responsible for Sunday’s fires.

“We certainly want to get on top of this, and see who’s responsible for this, and stop it,” Bauman said.

Lutz is grateful to fire crews for saving her home, but doesn’t like the idea of an arsonist on the loose.

“Hopefully there`s not going to be any more, because it was actually really scary,” Lutz said.