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Names made public in school-fire case

SHARE Names made public in school-fire case

The Salt Lake County Fire Department on Wednesday released names of two of the men arrested in connection with a two-alarm arson fire that gutted Magna's old Webster School.

Christian Nieser, 25, and Gedie Nieser, 18, were arrested Tuesday afternoon and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of arson and burglary. A third person, a juvenile whose age and name were not released, was booked into juvenile detention.

The men were apparently setting combustible materials such as wood inside the school on fire for fun, said Salt Lake County Fire Capt. Jay Ziolkowski. But there was no evidence to suggest Wednesday that their intention was to burn down the school, he said. It appeared they were "messing around" and things got out of hand, Ziolkowski said.

Investigators also determined there was only one point of origin for the fire instead of two as originally reported.

The fire was reported at the 92-year-old school near 2700 South and 9200 West about 5:15 a.m. Tuesday. Within minutes the entire three-story building was engulfed in flames.

Kennecott Copper, which owned the school, had the rest of the building demolished late Tuesday afternoon because it posed a safety threat.