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2 men arrested in arson say they were just trying to stay warm

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 7 2011 12:43 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Two men who were kicked out of a downtown restaurant early Wednesday were arrested after police say they tried to start a fire at the back entrance of the business.

The men had been ordered to leave the Pie Hole, 344 S. State, for "causing trouble," police said. They were spotted by witnesses about 2 a.m. stacking cardboard and garbage against the back entrance and lighting it on fire. The fire was started at a back entryway on Exchange Place that connected several businesses.

But rather than revenge, Mark R. Kelly said he started the fire to "stay warm," according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.

The witnesses called 911 and chased the men away. Firefighters used extinguishers to quickly put out the blaze. Arriving police officers spotted the men walking away from the business. One man was arrested immediately, the other resisted by taking a swing at the officers and attempted to flee, said Salt Lake Police Lt. Dave Cracroft.

The entryway suffered fire damage and several businesses that connected to the hallway inside suffered smoke damage, Cracroft said. Damage was estimated at over $5,000, a jail report states.

Kelly, 52, was arrested for investigation of arson and fleeing. Josh P. Chambers, 26, was arrested for investigation of arson, resisting arrest and assault on a police officer.

A check of Utah State Court records shows Kelly has several convictions over the past 10 years, including criminal trespass and lewdness, and has used the alias Brenton Jensen. Chambers has convictions for criminal mischief, vehicle burglary and failure to stop at the command of a police officer.

Pat Reavy, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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