Suspect in fire that caused evacuations in Stockton has history of arson

Posted at 4:24 PM, Jul 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-17 18:24:44-04

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah -- The fire in Stockton was fully contained as of noon Thursday after fire crews worked overnight to mop up any and all hot spots.

Police arrested Stockton resident Timothy West Wednesday night and have charged him with arson.Tooele arson suspect Timothy West

Meanwhile, the city is still without water as the citizens have been urged not to use the public source because of contamination.

Since Wednesday afternoon, residents have not been able to shower, wash their hands, and clean their clothes or dishes in their Stockton homes. Giant flames engulfed a Stockton water tank and compromised the city’s water supply.

A posting on the Tooele County Health Department’s website warns residents not to drink or otherwise use the water, and the warning extends to pets and livestock.

To receive text updates of current water crisis and future emergency texts do one of the following:

1) Email your name, cell phone number, and name of your cell phone company to

2) Text your name, cell phone number, and name of your cell phone company to 435-830-7900

Residents spoke about the water issues.

"And you can't clean the house, there’s nothing I can do,” Stockton Resident Eliza Martinez said. “Cause I need the water for everything.”

Stockton City Councilman Kendall Thomas said things could have been worse.

"People spend a lot of time with their gardens, their livestock, and it does, it’s a big inconvenience, but luckily nobody's homes were lost,” Thomas said. “No firefighters or people lost possessions. We can replace a water tank.”

Timothy West, the man police arrested Wednesday night and claim is responsible for the 179 acres burned, is a Stockton resident and has been charged with arson in the past.

"It makes me sad for the family involved and all of the people effected,” Stockton resident Ronna Lee Hesford said. “It's a really stupid dangerous thing to do.”

"Really frustrating. Especially from someone born and raised here," Martinez said.

West was a volunteer firefighter, the son of a former Stockton fire chief, and has pleaded guilty to arson in two other Utah cities.

"It's too bad,” Thomas said. “The young man has been in the community forever. His family was involved in our fire department, they were our fire department for many years and so it really breaks all of our hearts. It's a tragedy for the family and a tragedy for the community.”