OGDEN, Utah, April 8, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — An Ogden man is facing a felony charge after he allegedly admitted to setting fire to his home on Tuesday night.
Austin Shortman, 41, has been charged with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony. He also is charged with misdemeanor intoxication.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in 2nd District Court in Weber County, fire department crews responded to a structure fire at Shortman’s residence, in the area of 27th Street and Monroe Boulevard.
The reporting Ogden police officer was at the scene of the fire to assist with traffic control.
Later Tuesday night, dispatchers notified the officer that Shortman “had arrived at the hospital and had admitted to hospital staff that he had lit a house on fire,” the document states.
After being advised of and waiving his Miranda rights, Shortman was interviewed by police and allegedly admitted to using a propane torch to light a blanket on fire inside the home — with the intention of setting fire to the house — and then leaving.
“Austin admitted that he is a methamphetamine user,” the statement says. “Austin admitted that he had last used methamphetamine the night prior (to the fire).”
According to the affidavit, Shortman reported having hallucinations in which his landlord and neighbors speak to him “through speakers planted in his house.”
Shortman “expressed anger toward his landlord and neighbors and indicated that his methamphetamine use and the decision to burn down his house was an attempt to escape these delusions,” the statement says.
The reporting officer adds, “This type of paranoia is common in methamphetamine users.”
Shortman was booked into the Weber County jail early Wednesday morning, and has since been released with conditions.