- Associated Press - Monday, March 23, 2015

Two fires in Salt Lake City that were four miles and six months apart initially seemed to be accidents, but investigators now say the blazes have been linked to a sophisticated arsonist.

Krisa Harper, 26, is accused of setting the fires, including one at home that she blamed on her son and another at an office building where she was temporarily working.

She faces two felony arson charges, as well as a misdemeanor for reckless burning and criminal mischief.

One of the fires occurred on Feb. 22 and involved an electrical power strip hidden under a desk in the basement at the Steiner Education building.

No one was hurt and officials at first thought it may have been a generic electrical fire.

However, Jasen Asay, a Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman, said investigators pieced together the “sophisticated methods” used to start the blaze.

They discovered that a fire alarm had been activated about an hour before the basement fire, causing a disruption and distraction. The building’s computer network was sabotaged, and a notebook was set on fire and put under the door of an office.

Officials interviewed nearly a dozen people and noted Harper was there at the time. She had been there for two days as a temporary worker, Asay said.

Months earlier on Aug. 23, a fire was reported at Harper’s home. A bed had caught on fire after it was doused with an ignitable liquid.

No one was hurt, although Harper was home with her three children and grandmother. Harper told investigators her son started it.

On March 20, investigators interviewed Harper and said she acknowledged starting the fires.

The AP sought comment on the charges from Harper, but could not verify whether she had a listed telephone number or an attorney.

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