Arrest Made in '01 Arson Fire That Killed Phoenix Firefighter Bret Tarver | Valley Fever | Phoenix | Phoenix New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Phoenix, Arizona
Navigation

News

Arrest Made in '01 Arson Fire That Killed Phoenix Firefighter Bret Tarver

  Bret Tarver A 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of starting the 2001 fire that killed Phoenix firefighter Bret Tarver. Chris Benitez was 15 when he started a fire in a trash mound next to a westside Southwest Supermarket, investigators believe. Tarver was helping to battle the inferno...
Share this:

 

Bret Tarver

A 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of starting the 2001 fire that killed Phoenix firefighter Bret Tarver.

Chris Benitez was 15 when he started a fire in a trash mound next to a westside Southwest Supermarket, investigators believe.

Tarver was helping to battle the inferno when he became disoriented because of a lack of breathable air, says a write-up of the incident on the Web site of Phoenix Firehouse #8. His death launched numerous efforts to ensure a similar tragedy wouldn't happen again.

Benitez "had been a suspect for a long time," says Captain Hugh Chase of the Phoenix Fire Department. Following a grand jury indictment, Benitez was sent home from his service in Iraq and arrested on July 4 in Texas, Chase says.

The department plans a news conference this afternoon to give out more details about the case and another we wrote about today, the fatal arson fire at Young Champions of America.

KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. Your membership allows us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls. You can support us by joining as a member for as little as $1.