SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A Utah electrician charged Wednesday with arson in a downtown Salt Lake City apartment complex fire that caused $6 million in damage said he lit the blaze so he could see the fire department.
Dustin Bowman, 33, of Bountiful, was charged in federal court following an investigation of the Feb. 9 fire by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Flames from the nighttime blaze could be seen for miles and drew hundreds of onlookers. Nobody was inside the unfinished building, and no one was hurt. The 40-foot-tall building was planned to have 61 units and cover 64,000 square feet.
Investigators honed in on Bowman as a suspect after spotting him on surveillance video at the construction site shortly before the blaze started. When first confronted by investigators, Bowman initially denied it was him, court records show.
He later acknowledged setting the fire by lighting cardboard and throwing it in a bathtub that was leaning against a wood wall, court records show. He said he only wanted to start a small fire.
Asked about his motive, he said “maybe I wanted to see the fire department,” according to court records.
Bowman doesn’t yet have an attorney.
Bowman has prior felony and misdemeanor convictions for drug offenses.
Dave Conrad, owner of Conelco-Conrad Electric Inc., a subcontractor on the apartment project, told The Salt Lake Tribune that Bowman had worked at the site for about two weeks and had worked for the company off and on for years.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.