A Layton, Utah man has been charged with reckless burning and other charges after he set his apartment building ablaze while playing with fire.
20 year old Angel David Colebrook was playing around with burning incense in an area of his apartment contaminated with gasoline when a fire started. With the help of the spilled accelerant, the fire quickly spread to neighboring apartments. Firefighters were unable to contain the fire in time. Flames completely engulfed the entire 24 apartment building, displacing all of the residents and causing multiple injuries to residents. Colebrook originally told officers the fire was a result of a kitchen accident before he came clean about playing with the incense and lighter. He was booked into Davis County Jail on reckless endangerment and reckless burning.
Colebrook is facing two class A misdemeanor charges. One for reckless endangerment for endangering the lives of the other tenants through his negligence and the other for reckless burning. Utah Code 76-6-104 states “A person is guilty of reckless burning if the person:
- recklessly starts a fire or causes an explosion which endangers human life;
- having started a fire, whether recklessly or not, and knowing that it is spreading and will endanger the life or property of another, either fails to take reasonable measures to put out or control the fire or fails to give a prompt fire alarm;
- builds or maintains a fire without taking reasonable steps to remove all flammable materials surrounding the site of the fire as necessary to prevent the fire’s spread or escape; or
- damages the property of another by reckless use of fire or causing an explosion.”
The penalties for reckless burning range from a class C misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanor charges result if someone’s life is endangered or if the damage to property exceeds $1,500 in value.
Irresponsible or intentional
At this time Colebrook is being charged based on the statement that his actions were irresponsible. If investigators determine that he intentionally set the fire, he could face felony arson charges. Those facing charges related to reckless burning are encouraged to seek legal guidance to ensure their intentions are not misconstrued.