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Serial arsonist turns himself in for early morning Memory Grove fire

Published: Thursday, July 5 2012 8:08 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A serial arsonist turned himself in Thursday after starting a fire in Memory Grove earlier that morning.

Wilbert Fike Jr. went to the Fire Prevention Bureau, 315 E. 200 South, and turned himself in for intentionally starting the Memory Grove fire, which burned close to a half-acre.

Fike was released from prison June 8 after being convicted of arson last year for starting another fire in Memory Grove. He turned himself in after that fire, as well.

Firefighters were returning from a fire on Ensign Peak when they noticed smoke coming from the Memory Grove area and found a small fire burning. They called in two other engines that were also returning from the Ensign Peak fire. Together, they were able to quickly extinguish the fire.

Last year, the Deseret News reported that Fike pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor arson in 2010, to which he was sentenced to a year in jail with credit for time served.

In that incident, Fike set a fire in City Creek Canyon. Three days later, he turned himself in, saying "his intent was to go back to prison," according to court documents. In 2007, he was also convicted of third-degree felony arson and sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Investigators, who spoke with Fike Thursday, determined that he was being truthful but were unable to release his motives for starting the Memory Grove fire this time.

Court records also show Fike pleaded guilty to five counts of sex abuse of a child, a second-degree felony, in 1988. He is currently listed on the Utah Sex Offender Registry.

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