Suspect in fatal Boulders Apartment fire in Provo sounded worried after fire started

Published: Tuesday, March 22 2011 1:46 p.m. MDT

Yvette Kimber

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PROVO — In a worried sounding voice, Yvette Kimber can be heard alerting other apartment tenants several times about a fire and asking emergency dispatchers to "please hurry."

911 tapes of fatal Provo fire released

The 911 tapes from the fatal fire at the Boulders Apartments, 750 S. 650 West, on March 14 have been released to the public.

Karen Murray and Catherine Crane were killed when they became trapped inside their apartments, and a third person, Jeanette Spahr, 51, was hospitalized with a broken pelvis and smoke inhalation after being forced to jump from her second-story window to escape the flames.

Although the names from the 911 tapes have been redacted, prosecutors earlier said Kimber had initially told them that she fell asleep with a lit cigarette in her hand. Later, she admitted that she purposely set the fire in an attempt to kill herself.

Kimber was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of two counts of murder and aggravated arson.

On the 911 tapes, a woman is heard telling dispatchers, "I just got out. … I think I fell asleep with a cigarette."

But just prior to the calls about the fire, one of Kimber's friends, who lives in Santaquin, called 911 to report Kimber may be suicidal.

"My friend just called me and basically said she's going to kill herself, and I think she probably will," the woman said. "Her boyfriend broke up with her today, and she has a long history of depression."

The woman said Kimber told her she "wanted to say goodbye" and then hung up the phone.

According to jail records, the friend's call came at 9:04 p.m. Kimber's 911 call was made at 9:06 p.m. When fire crews arrived, the building was already heavily engulfed, leading the fire marshal to determine that "it was not plausible" for a fire to spread that quickly from simply a discarded cigarette.

Kimber later told investigators she lit the fringes of her throw pillows on fire. When she put her head back to fall asleep, she noticed her arm getting very warm.

Several people called 911 as the fire raged.

"The fire is spreading. … The windows are exploding," one caller said. "You may need to send paramedics. There may be people trapped. … I see one person trapped upstairs trying to get out the window."

Other callers also were concerned about people possibly being trapped, telling dispatchers, "We're trying to help people jump out this window" and, "There's a lady trapped upstairs. She can't get out."

Official charges against Kimber were pending Tuesday from the Utah County Attorney's Office.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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