News / Utah / 

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

Charges: 18-year-old lit home on fire after argument with father

By Lauren Bennett, KSL.com | Posted - Jun 24th, 2019 @ 5:44pm


1 photo

SALT LAKE CITY — A teen set fire to her family's home after a heated argument with her father, according to charging documents.

Alora Calista Rivera, 18, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, after authorities say she intentionally set her home on fire knowing people were inside.

On June 19, Rivera and her father argued into the early morning hours and her father told officials he could smell gasoline on her, according to the charges.

Her father went to his bedroom in the basement of the home and Rivera left the house but returned around 5 a.m., court documents state.

Soon after, another family member alerted Rivera's father to a fire on the stairs leading to the basement, according to officials. The father's room is only accessible through the one set of stairs, court documents state.

The father attempted to put out the fire with his bedding and eventually threw the bedding and a plastic bottle he found on the stairs out a window, according to the charging documents. The liquid inside the bottle caused several other small fires, the documents say.

The father was able to extinguish the main fire and the smaller fires the bottle caused before firefighters arrived, documents state.

Another family member in the home told officials she spoke with Rivera in the kitchen about 5 a.m. and Rivera walked outside then returned. The family member then saw a bright light on the stairway inside the house, realized it was a fire, and tried to put it out as they called for the father who was in the basement, charging documents state.

The family member told authorities they smelled gasoline and saw Rivera running from the fire.

Fire investigators with the Salt Lake City Fire Department determined the fire was arson and was started by an ignitable liquid poured on the stairs in the home, according to court documents.

When Rivera was arrested on Wednesday, police found a lighter and a book of matches on her person, charges state.

According to court documents, investigators later found surveillance video of Rivera at a nearby 7-Eleven gas station by a gas pump around 4:45 a.m., just roughly 15 minutes before the fire was reportedly started.

Photos

Lauren Bennett

KSL Weather Forecast