Suspect arrested in West Valley City apartment fire now charged in federal court

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UPDATE 2/6/2020 – Luis Frenando Bueso-Romero, 21, who is facing state charges of attempted murder, arson and causing a catastrophe is now facing one federal count of damage to a building by means of fire, according to a a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

He is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Evelyn J. Furse at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

The potential maximum penalty for this charge is 20 years in prison with a 5-year mandatory minimum.


WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 Update) – The man police said is responsible of starting a massive apartment fire after a domestic incident has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, arson, causing a catastrophe and criminal trespassing.

According to arresting documents, Luis Frenando Bueso-Romero, 21, met his girlfriend across the street from her apartment located at 4612 south 2930 west around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday where the woman told him she was ending the relationship.

Around 8 p.m., the woman’s room-mate heard Bueso-Romero tapping on their windows and demanding entry into the apartment. Just before 8:30 p.m., the roommate heard the tapping again so she opened the front door, according to documents.

The roommate saw fire in the entire breezeway and could not get out of the apartment through the front door, forcing three adults and two children to crawl out a window as they attempted to escape the flames.

Other residents of the same building had exits blocked by flames and had to jump out of their second story windows to escape, documents state.

Multiple fire departments arrived and battled extensive flames and smoke. When it was over, four apartment units in the building are a total loss, two additional apartments suffered smoke and water damage. Eight family’s were dislocated by the fire.

Investigators found video surveillance of Bueso-Romero purchasing gasoline and a lighter at a store near the apartments just before the fire and accelerants were found on the ex-girlfriend’s apartment door, around the side of the apartment, and on her bedroom window, documents state.

Bueso-Romero was found hiding in an abandoned building at 1331 west 3300 south. He was taken into custody but refused to answer any questions.

He is being held at the Salt Lake County jail without bail. He was booked on pending charges of first-degree felony aggravated arson, second-degree felony attempted murder and causing a catastrophe and one additional count of misdemeanor criminal trespassing.

Investigators found a pre-trial release for Bueso-Romero from September for domestic assault against the same victim out of Miami, FL. Bueso-Romero is listed as homeless and told people after the fire he was going to go to California, according to documents.

Domestic Violence: 

Support for victims and survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence is available 24/7: 1-800-897-LINK (5465). If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately


ORIGINAL STORY:

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Four different agencies, 20 fire trucks, dozens of firefighters and police officers all responded to a two alarm apartment fire is believed to have been caused by someone throwing a “Molotov Cocktail” into one of the units during a domestic incident Saturday night in West Valley City.

According to West Valley City Fire Department Deputy Chief Chris Beichner the fire was called in by multiple residents around 8:30 p.m. who reported visible flames coming from the Overlook Point Apartments located at 4612 S 2930 West.

Beichner said the fire started in a unit on the second floor and completely destroyed two apartments which quickly became fully engulfed in flames. The structure holds eight total units, all of which suffered damage and are not habitable, according to authorities.

Crews battled flames for 45 minutes before gaining control of the fire.

West Valley City police said they are aware of who the suspect is and is currently attempting to locate the individual.

Red Cross is assisting those affected by the fire. It is not known if there were any injuries.

*Developing* We will continue to update this story as more information is released. Information can change as the investigation continues. All information in this article is based on initial reports shortly after the fire was extinguished.

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