Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Sandra Yi ReportingFirefighters battled a suspicious fire at a downtown apartment complex last night. Investigators believe it started as a result of a domestic dispute.
The fire started around 11:40 last night at the Peter Pan Apartments downtown. The suspect's wife lives in the apartment building.
Sona Gray/Suspect's Wife: "It was scary. Thank God that a neighbor was coming down at the same time I opened my door and said there was a fire down in 16."
A vacant apartment was completely destroyed in the fire. Witnesses say the place erupted in flames after the suspect threw something inside.
William Gray was arrested for starting a fire that destroyed the vacant. Investigators believe he was after his estranged wife - who lives on the second floor.
Sona Gray/Suspect's Wife: "I'm shook up. I've been crying all day today and just can't believe it."
Sona Gray had just gone to bed when she heard a window break downstairs.
Sona Gray/Suspect's Wife: "I looked out my window and I saw him holding something white with a big flame of fire going and from the flames that shadowed on the wall and I saw my husband do it."
Witnesses told investigators they saw Gray buy a gallon and a half of gasoline from a nearby gas station last night. He was across the street when crews arrived.
Scott Freitag/Salt Lake City Fire Dept.: "When we arrive, he's on the other side of the street watching all this and several people say, 'he's the guy, he's the guy.'"
Freitag and a fire investigator chased Gray down an alley. Gray told them he was running because his wife had a protective order against him. Gray and his wife have been separated since last month.
Sona Gray/Suspect's Wife: "I never thought he would do something like this, never. Of all the years with him, I never thought he'd do something like this."
Sona Gray is thankful a neighbor alerted her to the fire. Fifty people were in the building and only one person was treated for smoke inhalation. Firefighters say it was a situation that could have been devastating.
Scott Freitag/Salt Lake City Fire Dept.: "If it would have been maybe a little later in the night when there were less people out and if he hadn't been screaming at everybody to alert them, we could have had some serious damage, even loss of life."
William Gray was arrested on a warrant for violating the protective order. And he was also booked on suspicion of starting this fire.