WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, Feb. 2, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — More details have been released after a two-alarm fire in a West Valley City apartment building Saturday night caused $250,000 in damages and was a result of arson.
A probable cause statement from the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake County said Luis Fernando Bueso-Romero, 21, is facing charges of:
- Aggravated arson, a first-degree felony
- Attempted murder, a second-degree felony
- Cause a catastrophe means other than weapon of mass destruction, a second-degree felony
- Criminal trespass, a class B misdemeanor
The statement said that on Saturday, Bueso-Romero met his girlfriend across the street from her unit at the Overlook Point Apartments, at 4612 S. 2930 West, at approximately 6:30 p.m. She told him she was ending their relationship, the statement said.
At approximately 8 p.m., the girlfriend’s roommate heard Bueso-Romero tapping on the windows of the apartment, the statement said. The roommate then saw Bueso-Romero through the window demanding entry to the apartment. Some 25 minutes later, the roommate heard more tapping, so she opened the front door of the apartment.
“The roommate saw fire in the entire breezeway and could not get out of the apartment front door,” the statement said. “The two women and two children, and another adult had to crawl out a window in order to exit the apartment, which was now engulfed in flames.”
Residents of the same building also found their exits blocked by flames and had to jump out of their second-story windows to escape the flames, the statement said.
It took about 45 minutes for crews to get the fire under control.
West Valley City Fire Department responded with their arson investigator. Four apartment units in the building were listed as a total loss due to fire. Two more apartments in the building were evacuated and had smoke and water damage. A total of eight different families were displaced by the fire, the statement said.
“Investigators found video surveillance of Luis purchasing gasoline and a lighter a short distance away from the apartments just before the fire,” the statement said. “Arson investigator found traces of accelerants on the girlfriend’s apartment door, around the side of the apartment, and on her bedroom window.”
As fire crews were on scene, Bueso-Romero allegedly sent text messages to friends saying he was not responsible for the fire, officials said.
Investigators tracked Bueso-Romero to an abandoned building in the area of 1331 W. 3300 South, after finding the entry door had been forced open. Bueso-Romero was found hiding in the building and was arrested at approximately 10:40 a.m. Sunday. He declined to answer any questions.
The suspect was transported to Salt Lake County Jail, where he is being held without bail.
Investigators found a pre-trial release for Bueso-Romero dated Sept. 27, 2019, for domestic assault from Miami, Florida, in which the same woman was his victim. He is a Honduran native, and had only been in Utah for two months, the statement added.
Deputy Chief Chris Beichner told Gephardt Daily 55 to 60 firefighters responded to the scene with approximately 20 apparatus. West Valley City Police also responded.
The Red Cross is assisting the residents displaced by the fire.