Mother accused of setting fire in Clifton

A Clifton woman was arrested Wednesday on allegations she set fire to her apartment last month while her brother and two young children were inside.

Kayla Settle, 22, 3225 Rood Ave., No. 1, could face felony charges of arson and criminal mischief and misdemeanor charges of child abuse, reckless endangerment and false reporting to authorities, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.

The Nov. 19 fire caused damage to the apartment totaling more than $20,000.

The morning of the fire, a hysterically crying and physically shaking Settle told deputies she was asleep in her bedroom when her children awakened her and told her the apartment was on fire. She said she grabbed her children, woke up her 17-year-old brother and got everyone out of the apartment, according to an arrest affidavit.

Eight days later, Settle met with deputies and told them she heard a noise in her children’s bedroom on the morning of the fire and discovered a man wearing a ski mask in the bedroom. She also said she heard footsteps in gravel outside the bedroom. She claimed the man pointed a gun at her and held his hand over her mouth. She said she smelled a chemical odor, became dizzy and eventually passed out, the affidavit said.

Settle concluded she had been sexually assaulted because her genitals hurt when her daughter awakened her to the fire. She said she visited the doctor and reported swelling and pelvic pain, but the doctor concluded the swelling wasn’t consistent with sexual-assault trauma, the affidavit said. The doctor’s diagnosis was redacted from the affidavit.

After deputies told Settle they would check video-camera footage in the neighborhood for evidence related to the fire, Settle admitted she made up the story about the masked gunman and sex assault, the affidavit said.

Acknowledging she was depressed and suicidal, Settle told deputies she smoked a bowl of marijuana, took a dose of cold medicine and, after putting her children to bed, obtained a bottle of lighter fluid from her shed. She said she sprayed the lighter fluid on the house outside her children’s bedroom but was unable to ignite it with a match, so she went inside and lit one of her children’s shirts on fire, according to the affidavit.

“Kayla stated she wanted to die from the fire and she finally went to her bed (in her bedroom) with her children sleeping,” a deputy wrote in the affidavit. “Kayla stated she realized what she had done and she was waiting for someone to report the fire, so she could get her kids outside (without suspicion towards her). Kayla stated her daughter woke up and was alarmed about the fire, so Kayla decided to go ahead and evacuate the residence with her family.”

Settle is expected to make her first court appearance today.


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