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Arson suspect: ‘Maybe I wanted to see the fire department’

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Posted at 2:40 PM, Feb 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-20 19:14:41-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Jeremy Krause would have been walking into a brand new, high-end apartment building in downtown Salt Lake come June, but instead he can only stand in the remnants of nearly a year’s worth of work.

“This would have been a 2-bedroom apartment. This week it would have been getting dry walled and headed down the finish line,” said Krause, who is the superintendent for the project contractor, U.S. Development.

On February 9, hundreds watched as a fire took down the $8 million project, a night that sparked an investigation that led right to one of Krause’s crew members.

“It’s just sad to look at all the waste,” Krause said. “The whole time you’re building, you look for ways to keep the outside out. You never really think about the guys that are working here and how to keep them out.”

Dustin Bowman, a 33-year-old electrician working on the site, is now facing a felony charge of arson for the fire after an odd admission to investigators.

"It's alleged that his story has evolved over time,” said U.S. Attorney David Barlow.

According to federal court documents, Bowman kept changing his story to investigators. First, officials said he claimed to have started a small fire, accidentally, while stealing some copper wire.

However, during another interview Bowman told them, “…after he had smoked some spice he went into one of the apartment units, found some cardboard, crumpled it up, lit it on fire with his lighter and tossed it at the base of the tub.” When pressed for a motive, the court records show Bowman simply said, “…maybe I wanted to see the fire department.”

“It’s interesting to think that someone could disregard such work and such amounts of money and time and just think, like, ‘I wanted to see the fire department show up.’ So, for us, it’s really just, ‘What?’”

Rather than look for an answer to that question, Krause plans to focus on the new task at hand, rebuilding what they started.

“This is just one little bump in the road on this project, but we’ll just move forward and go on,” Krause said.

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