Dustin Bowman, 34, pleaded not guilty to one count of arson in federal court on Thursday.
Bowman is charged with intentionally setting a fire that destroyed a $6 million apartment complex under construction at 550 E. 500 South, in Salt Lake City on Feb. 9.
An electrician, Bowman was employed by a contractor working on the complex.
Bowman allegedly admitted to investigators that he smoked spice then entered the apartment complex and lit some cardboard on fire and tossed it against a boxed bathtub leaning against a wooden wall. He allegedly said he “wanted to see the fire department,” according according to the federal complaint.
He was arrested on Feb. 14. On Feb. 24, a federal magistrate ordered that Bowman remain in jail until his trial because of his alleged substance abuse and mental health issues.
If convicted, Bowman faces a potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison with a five-year mandatory minimum.