clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

`SUSPICIOUS' FIRE INJURES OREM MAN

Two explosions and a fire police are calling suspicious ripped through an Orem man's home Monday morning, severely burning him and injuring a house guest.

Witnesses said Glen Cowden, 1036 E. 200 South, came running out of the house on fire after two explosions shattered windows and ignited a blaze about 8:45 a.m.Cowden, 47, was taken to Orem Community Hospital and then transported by helicopter to the Intermountain Burn Center at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City. He was in extremely critical condition Monday morning.

A young man, name and age unavailable, living at the home suffered a cut hand when he dived out a window, police said. He was being treated at Orem Community Hospital.

"We just heard a loud explosion. I could hear the guy screaming," said Jake Markham, a neighbor. "All of his clothing was burned off, and he didn't have any hair. They got water from across the street and poured water on him until the paramedics got here."

Markham said she sent her boyfriend to help and Cowden told him, "They put gas on me."

Neighbors said the Cowden commented on several occasions that people had threatened him and were after him. Neighbors described Cowden as a quiet man who kept to himself. He lived alone but sometimes had friends stay with him.

Orem police Sgt. Harold Peterson said investigators are treating the explosions and fire as suspicious.

"We have conflicting stories that it was either accidental or started by a third party in the house," he said.

Firefighters still were trying to determine the cause of the blasts late Monday morning. "It looks like the ignition was in the living room," Peterson said.

Most of the center of the brown brick rambler was badly charred.

Peterson said some witnesses told him they heard an explosion followed by a scream and a second explosion. Fire raced up the chimney and out the front window.

One neighbor living north of the house said he heard a bang.

"It kind of blew out the windows. There were a lot of flames coming out of them," he said.