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TAYLORSVILLE, Utah (ABC4) – A Taylorsville teen has been arrested, accused of setting fire to the unit he was living in at a Taylorsville apartment on Friday, Jan. 6.
Rodney Davis, 19, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail and faces one count of aggravated arson, a first-degree felony.
On Friday morning, while responding to a medical call at Bridgeside Landing in Taylorsville, Murray City Fire was notified of a fire in a nearby fire unit. Firefighters began attacking the fire and called Unified Fire Authority in for assistance.
Fire crews said Friday the fire was contained to a single unit and one patient was taken to a local hospital for potential smoke inhalation.
According to the police affidavit, the apartment unit suffered significant smoke and thermal damage, but most of the fire was isolated to the main living room. Police reported noticing a strong odor, which they believed to be ignitable liquid, which they allegedly confirmed through a K9 officer.
Throughout the investigation, police say they learned Davis had recently quit his job abruptly and removed all his money from his bank account. Police said they also found a note on the floor of the apartment unit that indicated Davis may have had plans to hurt himself.
Authorities “pinged” Davis’ phone and he was reportedly stopped a short time later by Utah Highway Patrol. During the stop, troopers with Highway Patrol reported smelling a strong odor of gas and noticed a gas can in the backseat. Davis was reportedly detained and taken to the Taylorsville Police Department for an interview.
At the precinct, police say Davis confessed to intentionally setting the apartment on fire with gasoline and a handheld torch before fleeing. Davis allegedly told police he planned to drive to California where he would end his life.
Charging documents said Davis admitted to police that he knowingly set fire to the apartment complex while it was occupied, but that he didn’t care as he allegedly wanted nothing to be left for him to come back to.
All charges are allegations only. All arrested persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.