Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bountiful man arrested in Salt Lake inferno that caused $2.5M in damage

By Emiley Morgan, Deseret News

Published: Sat, Feb. 15 6:00 p.m. MST

 Crews work on the scene Monday morning after a four-alarm fire broke out Sunday night at the site of a future apartment complex at 500 South and 500 East.

Crews work on the scene Monday morning after a four-alarm fire broke out Sunday night at the site of a future apartment complex at 500 South and 500 East.

(Matt Gade, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal officials announced Saturday that an arrest was made in the four-alarm inferno that burned a Salt Lake apartment building under construction.

Dustin Jay Bowman, 33, of Bountiful, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail late Friday night for investigation of arson.

Bowman "stated that he did intentionally start a fire in the structure at 540 E. 500 South" on Feb. 9, a jail report written by a Salt Lake fire investigator states. Investigators said the blaze caused $2.5 million in damage.

Bowman apparently worked at the construction site. On what appears to be his Facebook page, he lists his occupation as an electrician and posted three photos labeled "downtown fire aftermath" the day after the blaze and included a link to a news story about it.

"Guess I'm not working Monday," one post states. "New House apartment complex construction burnt down. Anybody want to hire an electrician for a day or two? Maybe the boss has some temp power to hook up somewhere or something. Can't really afford a day off."

No official charges have been filed against Bowman.

Brad Beyersdorf, spokesman for the Denver office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, confirmed that an arrest was made, but refused to release any other information about the arrest, including Bowman's name or the nature of his alleged offense.

"We're not finished with the on-scene investigation," he said Saturday. "Due to the ongoing investigation and continuing judicial process, no further information can be released at this time."

Sunday's blaze decimated the building under construction, which would have been a 64,000-square-foot apartment building, and prompted evacuations of nearby homes and a Smith's Marketplace across the street. It also led to the closure of 500 South between 500 East and 600 East, and it remained closed Saturday.

The construction company working on the building, U.S. Development, told fire officials that no one was in the building when the fire started. No workers were on site that day, and there was no power connected to the building or heat sources inside.

Bowman was also booked on misdemeanor warrants out of the South Salt Lake Justice Court, according to the report. The warrant for the Bowman was issued Dec. 30 and then reissued Jan. 28 in connection with an infraction for failure to pay fare and failure to appear on a citation, a class B misdemeanor.

A search of court records indicates charges against Bowman were filed last year in 2nd District Court. He entered a guilty plea in abeyance to two counts of third-degree felony possession or use of a controlled substance in a case in Farmington and a guilty plea in abeyance to class A misdemeanor counts of use or possession of drug paraphernalia and possession or use of a controlled substance in Bountiful.

A review in the Farmington case is slated for Feb. 27.

The ATF team came to aid Salt Lake fire and police investigating the Feb. 9 blaze at 540 E. 500 South. Salt Lake fire spokesman Jasen Asay has said ATF was called in to assist in the investigation because of the size of the fire. He referred all questions Saturday to the ATF.

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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1. G-Day-M8
WVC, UT,
Feb. 15, 2014

ATF came to assist and SLC gave up jurisdiction? Investigation enters the black hole of the federal government.

2. cjb
Bountiful, UT,
Feb. 15, 2014

I can understand ones motivation to rob a bank, but why start a fire that does so much damage?

The rest of his life is ruined.

3. NeilT
Clearfield, UT,
Feb. 16, 2014

G-DAY The ATF was called in due to their resources and expertise. An arrest was made. What is your point? Anti-gov't conspiracy theorists remind me of a song by Buffalo Springfield. Paranoia Runs Deep.

4. bearfoot
silver city grant, NM,
Feb. 16, 2014

cjb.... it's called pyromania.. it's a psychological disorder

5. Grover
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 16, 2014

Let's see now, if I were writing a TV script for this event (fire always make great visuals) how would I write it. Guy with drug issues is so bored he starts a fire? Too weak a motivation. How could anyone benefit from a fire? Maybe by being hired by someone who had a reason to burn the place for profit or to save themselves from bankruptcy. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!