Utah County man catches house on fire while burning wife’s clothes, police say

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SPANISH FORK — A man upset over finding out his wife was having an affair was arrested Thursday after police say he put her clothes in a pile and burned them, causing his children to suffer smoke inhalation.

Efrain Solis Mendoza, 35, of Spanish Fork, was booked into the Utah County Jail about 3:45 a.m. Thursday for investigation of arson, four counts of child abuse, criminal mischief and intoxication.

Spanish Fork police had originally responded to Mendoza’s residence Wednesday night after a “severely intoxicated” Mendoza called police saying he wanted to go to jail, according to a police affidavit.

“He had learned of an affair that his wife was involved with and a verbal argument ensued. Officers determined no crime had occurred at this time and the parties were separated,” the affidavit states.

But Mendoza called 911 two more times during the night “asking to go to jail then hung up,” according to the affidavit.

The third 911 call came from Mendoza’s 17-year-old son who reported two plastic garbage cans were on fire outside his bedroom window, the affidavit states.

“One garbage can had been set ablaze about 2 feet from one of his teenage son’s bedroom window. The other garbage can had been set ablaze about 2 feet from an open window of a bedroom containing one of his teenage sons and young daughter. The fire spread to the home and began burning the west wall of the home, near the children’s bedrooms, and threatening the lives of the children inside,” according to the affidavit.

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Police stated in the affidavit that “the house and fence sustained a large amount of fire damage.”

Two of the children suffered smoke inhalation, according to police. Mendoza later told police he “intentionally placed all of his wife’s clothes in the garbage cans and lit them on fire,” the affidavit states.

“The suspect was found sitting motionless between the two fires. Officers extinguished the fires and took the suspect into custody without incident.”

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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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