PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – A woman has been arrested in connection to two fires that broke out near the Centennial Apartment Complex on Christmas Day.
19-year-old Calliope Mlynar was arrested and booked into the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, facing two first degree felony charges of aggravated arson.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Provo police and fire department responded to a fire in the laundry and recreational room at the Centennial Apartment Complex near 400 North and 1000 East just before 5 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 25.
Police said the fire was minor and easily contained and extinguished, but the building the room was located contained five other apartments that were evacuated as a precaution. An investigation into the fire found a lighter and a material that appeared to be paper in the area where the fire is believed to have started.
About an hour later, just after 6 a.m., Provo police and fire responded to a duplex fire immediately outside the apartment complex. Police said the fire was started outside of the building and caused “considerably heavier damage.” According to the affidavit, the second fire spread inside the apartment walls and up to the second level where it melted a water line. The water line helped extinguish and slow the fire.
Nobody was reportedly home in either duplex at the time of the fire.
On Monday, Dec. 26, Provo police said they were contacted by the Centennial Apartment Complex management, reporting an RFI access tag registered to Mlynar was used to enter the laundry room, about 30 minutes before emergency crews responded to the fire.
Provo Police reportedly issued a search warrant for Mlynar’s apartment on Tuesday, Dec. 27, and found a lighter as well as a burned shirt before being arrested on suspicion of arson related to the Christmas Day fires.
The investigation has led Mlynar to become a suspect in eight other open arson investigations that span between Aug. 5 and Dec. 27. According to police, the fires all occurred within a five-block radius of the Centennial Apartments, including two fires on Thanksgiving that were reportedly nearly identical to the second Christmas Day fire just two blocks south of the apartments.
Another fire at the Centennial Apartment, occurred on Dec. 5, reportedly on the opposite side of the building to Mlynar’s apartment. Police say a resident’s doormat was set ablaze, and one resident burned her hand on a doorknob as they ran through the burning door frame to the outside.
After the doormat fire, Mlynar reportedly complained her apartment smelled like fire and chemicals long after, which police said would be “abnormal.”