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Utah man faces arson charge after fire at apartments for low-income residents, those with disabilities

Posted at 6:02 PM, May 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 18:00:58-04

BOUNTIFUL, Utah —  A man faces a charge of aggravated arson after fire crews responded to a blaze at an apartment complex for low-income residents and those with disabilities or other medical problems.

According to a statement of probable cause, the fire broke out Saturday at an apartment complex at 285 East and 1450 North in Bountiful.

Police said the fire, which caused approximately $100,000 worth of damage, appeared to have been started by an ignitable liquid.

Police say 50-year-old Ronald Wayne Makin approached emergency responders and was trying to be helpful and engage in conversation. Fire personnel noticed a gas can in plain view in the back of the man’s truck and asked him about it.

Authorities say Makin gave inconsistent information about his story and how he came into possession of the water jug filled with gasoline, and he told them he was holding onto it for another person.

Investigators determined that there was fire damage to a hallway and stairwell where the fire started, and they said it appeared someone had used a flammable liquid to start the fire. There were similar signs of flammable liquid on another hallway, and investigators say liquid was poured near the doors of residents and then down a flight of stairs that leads to a fire exit.

After reviewing surveillance footage, investigators observed Makin in the area around the time the fire began. The man told authorities he was taking out the trash at the time, but he was not carrying a trash bag in the video. They also found a lighter on his person.

Police ultimately arrested Makin on a charge of aggravated arson and he was booked into the Davis County Jail.

The extent of the damage and the nature and severity of injuries, if any, were not included in the document. Fox 13 News has reached out to fire officials for more information and will update this story as more details emerge.