Two cars torched in suspected weekend arson

Published: Monday, April 1 2013 9:05 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Two cars at a Salt Lake apartment complex, both owned by the same man, were intentionally set on fire over the weekend, according to fire officials.

"The two vehicles that had gasoline poured on them were a total loss," said Salt Lake City Fire spokesman Jasen Asay.

The incident happened about 3:30 a.m. Saturday at the Raintree Apartments, 870 N. 900 West. Someone intentionally poured gasoline over two vehicles and lit them on fire, Asay said. Another car was parked between the two vehicles. A total of five vehicles — including the two targeted cars that were destroyed — were damaged by the flames.

Ryan Schultz owns a pickup that was parked between the two targeted vehicles.

"It's pretty disappointing," he said. "I can't believe somebody would do that."

Schultz said he had just gotten the title to his truck Friday. Some of the exterior of the truck was melted, and the interior was damaged by smoke.

"You can't get rid of that smell. It's just intolerable," he said, noting that personal items he had inside the truck, such as clothes, also now smell of smoke.

Keyra Kirstoffersen was awakened Saturday morning by "popping" noises or explosion-like sounds coming from the fire.

"Half the parking lot was just flames, huge flames, probably 8-, 9-feet high," she said.

When the fire was finally extinguished, Kirstoffersen said the two targeted vehicles were "just smoking heaps of tangled metal."

The owner of the two vehicles told investigators he couldn't think of anyone who would want to do something like that to him. Both vehicles were model Lincoln show cars, one of which the owner had just purchased the day before.

Investigators were unsure Monday if the alleged arsonist knew the car owner or picked both vehicles because they were the same, or if there was another reason those vehicles were targeted.

Anyone with information on the fires can call police at 801-799-3000.

E-mail: preavy@deseretnews.com, syi@ksl.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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