WEST JORDAN — A man accused of intentionally setting a string of small brush fires over the summer from Eagle Mountain to Parleys Canyon has been arrested and charged.
Brien O'Neil Kelly, 46, of West Jordan, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with 12 counts of arson, a third-degree felony. He was arrested Thursday night and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on a $100,000 bail.
Investigators believe Kelly set three fires on July 15 near 7560 W. 14900 South, and off state Route 201 near Kennecott, the charges state.
On Aug. 8, four more fires were set around Camp Williams Road, according to charging documents.
On Aug. 15, three more fires were set near 9200 South and 5600 West, and again on Aug. 21 in the Rose Canyon area. Shortly after the three fires in Rose Canyon, two more brush fires were started in the Suncrest area of Draper that forced the evacuation of several homes, the charges state, followed by two more fires in Salt Lake County.
Kelly was spotted in his vehicle at several of the fires. At one fire scene, he reportedly told an officer "that he was going to jail," even though he was not a suspect at that point, the charges state. Surveillance video from homeowners also helped investigators narrow their investigation to focus on Kelly, the charges state.
In a search warrant affidavit filed in 3rd District Court in August, investigators in West Jordan were able find three surveillance videos from two businesses. In each video, the same vehicle can be seen leaving an area just before a fire breaks out, the warrant states.
"The video also shows an object coming out of the vehicle, and moments later smoke and flames were observed coming from the field," according to the warrant. "(Investigators were) able to collect six stick matches from the scene of the four field fires in West Jordan."
According to the warrant, Kelly was considered a suspect in the fires in August. During an interview with the Unified Fire Authority on Aug. 21, "Brien Kelly told (investigators) that he carries stick matches in a briefcase and carries the briefcase and stick matches daily," the warrant states.
On Aug. 25, Kelly, who was described as "suicidal," was safely taken to a hospital for an evaluation after police were called to his house and observed him holding a gun to his head, according to the warrant. During that incident, a briefcase was found. Investigators searched it and found five Bic lighters, a box of matches and lighter fluid, according to the warrant return.