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October 20, 2014

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Convicted arsonist: Setting recent fires ‘was better than the alternative’

Updated Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 | 6:30 p.m.

Paul Joyner

Paul Joyner

A convicted arsonist accused of setting at least 10 fires Wednesday told investigators that he did it because “it was better than the alternative,” according to an arrest affidavit released this afternoon.

Paul Joyner, 28, didn’t explain what that alternative was, but he did confess to Clark County Fire Department investigators that he used a white lighter to set fire to an Audi convertible, a tractor trailer and several dumpsters near Maryland Parkway and Flamingo Road.

The first of the fire calls occurred at 5:24 a.m. at a dumpster behind an apartment complex at 1555 E. Rochelle. Several more fires were reported over the course of two hours at various locations in the same area, fire officials said.

A lull occurred until more fires were reported in the afternoon, including a small fire at 4:24 p.m. behind a Dollar Store, 4055 S. Maryland Pkwy. At 4:26 p.m. at a nearby business park, a 2012 Audi convertible was set on fire. Damage to the car was estimated around $20,000, fire officials said.

Fire investigators arrested Joyner about 5:25 p.m. near a strip mall on Maryland Parkway while responding to a dumpster fire at the location.

“Our investigators did an outstanding job identifying and arresting this suspect and removing him from the streets of our community,” Clark County Fire Chief Bertral Washington said in a news release. “Some of these fires were very close to buildings and could have spread rapidly if our firefighters hadn’t responded quickly to the scenes.”

Investigators said they identified Joyner as a suspect early on in the investigation based on witness interviews and his criminal history. Joyner, who has a history of vagrancy, was arrested in April for setting similar fires in the same area. He was released from custody in September after serving a six-month sentence for arson.

Joyner was arrested Wednesday on 10 counts of third-degree arson and one count of attempted arson. He remained in Clark County Detention Center, where his bail is $55,000.

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