Phoenix woman lit storage unit on fire for revenge against cheating boyfriend, police say

During an interview with investigators, Clayton said she had been upset because her boyfriend was having sex with other women and using drugs in the unit.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 3:33 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Newly obtained court documents have revealed more details about the woman arrested after an early morning apartment fire in central Phoenix last week.

Phoenix police arrested Deja Clayton, 38, in connection to the apartment fire near 12th Street and Maryland Avenue that destroyed four units and several cars on Friday. Court paperwork says several people in the area said that Clayton was known to smoke narcotics and have sex in one of the storage units.

Court documents say they were called out on Friday after someone reported that a fire had started in one of the storage units and spread to the nearby apartment building. Surveillance video reportedly caught Clayton walking to the unit and spreading something throughout the interior. Soon afterward, the storage unit caught fire. Luckily no one was hurt, but six people lost their homes.

During an interview with investigators, Clayton said she had been upset because her boyfriend was having sex with other women and using drugs in the storage unit. Clayton also admitted to smoking meth just hours before the fire broke out. She also told detectives that she was “glad nobody got hurt” and was “extremely sorry” to the apartment complex.

Families who live in the complex say they now feel safer knowing Clayton has been arrested. “It’s one of the scariest things I’ve seen, personally witnessed,” Jarrette Reynolds said.

He added that he got home from work on Friday when he and his wife began to hear popping noises outside, “Immediately grabbed the kids and grabbed out files that are important, you know irreplaceable, and I got them into the car and slammed on some doors on the way,” he said.

A neighbor’s security camera shows someone, now identified as Clayton, walking into a storage unit at the apartment complex. She then walks away as the glow of flames appears behind the door. “She didn’t check any of the other units, just that one boom, fire, within minutes, and she just leaves, comes back, checks,” said neighbor Lyndsi Woodring.

Court records indicate Clayton is being charged with arson and admitted to lighting a sheet hanging from the ceiling on fire before fleeing the area.

David Gonzalez says he was in the process of moving into his apartment Friday and saw remembers seeing Clayton. “When moving stuff from the U-Haul, I saw her, and she caught my eye because she walked by like two or three times, and I didn’t think anything of it,” said Gonzalez. “Then when I saw the video, I could tell, ‘hey, there is a connection here.’” He says it was a last-minute decision to park his car in front of the complex, but it’s one that saved him from losing many belongings.

Clayton faces several charges, including arson, assault, and transportation violations.