Man arrested after girlfriend dies in Utah storage unit fire

Posted at 10:20 PM, February 20, 2023 and last updated 3:52 PM, May 2, 2023

By Stephen Romney, Darienne DeBrule

MURRAY, Utah — One man is in jail after he admitted to locking a woman in a storage unit that then caught fire, leading to her and her dog’s death over the weekend.

Alexander Paul Wardell, 30, was booked into Salt Lake County Jail on charges of negligent homicide and kidnapping.

Morgan Kay Harris and her dog, Huck. (Family photos provided to Murray City Police)

The Murray City Fire Department was dispatched just before 5 p.m. to a storage unit building after getting reports of a fire involving six of the units.

Officials later found the victim, Morgan Kay Harris, 27, and her dog, Huck.

According to the probable cause statement, Murray Police responded to the scene and spoke with Wardell, who admitted to closing the storage unit with the victim and her dog inside, placing a lock on it before leaving the area on foot. Police said Harris was his girlfriend.

The storage unit that caught fire in Salt Lake County, Utah. (Murray Fire)

Police said the fire broke out after Wardell had left, with the victim and dog trapped inside. The storage unit was not opened until firefighters were able to open the door.

Wardell is currently being held without bail pending trial. Court records show he was convicted of domestic violence-related aggravated assault in 2019, as well as possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person in 2022.

This story was originally published Feb. 20, 2022 by KSTU in Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.