Man accused in Phoenix arson fire that burned 2

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Daykota Rayne Varner By Christina O'Haver Daykota Rayne Varner By Christina O'Haver
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A man has been arrested in connection with a Phoenix shed fire that severely burned two people and killed a dog.

Maricopa County court documents show 22-year-old Daykota Rayne Varner, a Phoenix area transient, faces one count of arson of an occupied structure and two counts of endangerment, all felony charges. His bond was set at $50,000.

He was arrested by the Phoenix Fire Department Arson Division with help from the Phoenix Police Department.

Authorities say Varner allegedly entered the backyard of a home near 35th Avenue and Deer Valley Road shortly before 6:30 a.m. Feb. 21 and intentionally set fire to debris around the shed.

According to court documents, Varner brought a lighter and used it to ignite a piece of paper on the ground. He then allegedly watched the flames spread to the shed before fleeing the scene.

Authorities say a man and woman in their 50s were sleeping inside the shed with their dog when the fire started.

They say the couple suffered major burns all over their bodies and the dog died in the fire.

Varner allegedly confessed to the crime after three hours of interrogation by a Phoenix Fire Department arson investigator. He reportedly told the investigator he was mad at the male victim, but court documents did not provide any details.

Authorities believe Varner is an addict but it is unknown if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the fire, according to court documents.

Investigators estimated the damage to the shed, the yard and a fence amounted to roughly $10,000.

Varner is scheduled to appear in court March 5.