‘Oh, I started it.’ Federal charge filed against man accused of starting Millcreek Canyon wildfire

Posted at 4:16 PM, Sep 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-14 18:16:58-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors have leveled criminal charges against a man accused of starting a wildfire in Millcreek Canyon.

James Orville Gill, 35, was charged Monday in U.S. District Court with “Timber Set Afire,” a federal crime. A probable cause statement attached to the charge and obtained by FOX 13 reveals Gill admitted to firefighters that he had ignited the blaze.

Officers wrote in charging documents that Gill emerged from the brush as firefighters were making their way to the wildfire, shirtless and appearing “out of it.”

When Unified Fire Authority Captain John Wild asked Gill if he knew how the fire started, Gill allegedly replied, “Oh, I started it.”

The charging documents say Gill reached into his pants pocket and handed the firefighter a lighter and said: “With this.” Gill allegedly led the firefighters to the ignition source, police said.

The Church Fork Fire burned several acres in Millcreek Canyon. Gill made his first appearance in federal court on Monday morning and is scheduled to return for a detention hearing on Sept. 17.