Solved: August 20, 2007

Jul 6, 2009, 10:31 PM | Updated: Jun 5, 2012, 4:22 am

March 21st, 2001. It’s the day we lost a hero to an arsonist.

It was just before 5 p.m. at the Southwest Supermarket at 35th Avenue and McDowell when Phoenix Police Sgt. Paul Penzone said the tragedy began to unfold.

“What seemed like something simple, turned into a tragic event,” Penzone said.

Deputy Fire Chief Mike Berggren describes the scene.

“It came in as a debris fire outside the structure,” Berggren said. “We sent an assignment out there. In a short amount of time the fire extended into the structure.”

“There was a lot of combustibles in the area where the fire started,” Berggren said. “It was a large building. It had a unique floor plan, the building consisted of about 25,000 square feet. They had a good general idea of where the fire was at, but because of the items that were on fire it did produce a lot of smoke.”

Veteran firefighter Brett Tarver, a husband and the father of three little children, became trapped inside. He never made it out.

“We lost a firefighter and lost a brother in there,” Berggren said. “But there was four other people that came very close, that were rescued and transported and hospitalized as a result of this fire.”

“The initial damages were estimated to be about $4 million, but the bigger loss that day was the life of firefighter Brett Tarver,” Penzone said.

“The tragedy of this, in my 34 years in the fire service, is that this is the first fatality to a firefighter that has been linked to an intentionally set fire,” Berggren said.

“We know a lot about this fire. We know where it started, we know how it started, our biggest hump is we need information on who’s responsible,” Berggren said.

“Investigators are hoping to identify the arsonist whose actions led to the death of veteran firefighter Brett Tarver,” Penzone said.

“I think it would definitely help his immediate family maybe to put this to rest,” Berggren said. “I know it would certainly help our family as firefighters to put it to rest.”

“It’s a tragedy,” Berggren said.

Silent Witness

(Circle K Photo)...
Jayme West

Phoenix police searching for 2017 Circle K armed robbery suspects

A crime of opportunity or premeditation? That's what investigators want to find out about the suspects in a 2017 Circle K armed robbery in Phoenix.
3 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Jayme West

Phoenix police looking for 2017 armed robbery, murder suspects

Phoenix police were looking for a man who robbed a fast-food place at gunpoint and three men who robbed and beat a homeless woman to death in the summer of 2017.
10 days ago
(Goodyear Police Department Photo)...
KTAR.com

Goodyear police search for suspects in shooting death of 19-year-old man

Police are in the early stages of a homicide investigation after a 19-year-old man died from a gunshot wound at a party in Goodyear in May. 
11 days ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix police seek information on death of man found shot on bridge near I-10

Police are investigating the death of a man who was found shot to death on a bridge that goes over the I-10 freeway in Phoenix. 
12 days ago
(Photo by Arne Dedert/ Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

4th arrest made in West Valley kidnapping that prompted Amber Alert

A fourth person was arrested Tuesday in connection with a West Valley kidnapping that prompted an Amber Alert last week, authorities said.
22 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Jayme West

Phoenix police searching for suspects in 2 robberies from 2017

The Phoenix Police Department is looking for two people, one of whom robbed a house of worship and another who robbed a convenience store, in 2017.
24 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.