Man accused of arson for starting fire that made 14 apartments ‘uninhabitable’
LAYTON, Utah — A man is accused of arson for allegedly starting a fire that made 14 apartments “uninhabitable.”
The man was identified by a court affidavit as 41-year-old Shaun Gale.
On Friday evening at 8:34 p.m. Layton Fire Department responded to a fire a an apartment complex at 2955 N. Hill Field Road. The fire department said in a tweet that the crews were able to contain the fire to one apartment however, other adjacent apartments received damage.
Police were able to confirm Gale as the resident that lives in the apartment where the fire began on a couch in the room.
Gale was also the only person transported to the hospital for minor burns and other injuries.
Court documents state, “The fire has displaced 14 other apartments that are part of the 16 apartment complex building. Currently, all of the displaced tenants are being placed in temporary living conditions…”
Gale was interviewed at Davis Hospital by police and told them that he suffers from “several mental health issues” including schizophrenia.
He explained to police he was in the living room where the couch is and left to go to the bathroom. When he returned, he said the couch was on fire. According to Gale, it just “combusted.”
Gale attempted to put out the fire but was unsuccessful.
He told investigators, “I don’t like that sofa.” When asked why, he said he always hallucinates when he sits on the couch. Investigators asked Gale if he uses illegal narcotics and Gale said he uses methamphetamine.
Gale said, “I don’t remember setting the couch on fire.”
The affidavit explains there is probable cause that Gale “intentionally started the fire by lighting his couch on fire during a drug induced state where he was likely hallucinating or experiencing a schizophrenic episode.”
The entire apartment building has either been destroyed or residents were displaced due to fire and water damage.
The cost of the damage and repair will exceed $100,000.
Gale may face charges of arson with property of another damages exceeding $5000 in value, a second degree felony.
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