Turlock Police ended up catching and arresting Sunday night’s Colorado Avenue fire arson suspect, identified as Santiago Ojeda, 32, of Turlock.
On September 3, at about 10:12pm, Turlock Fire responded to a vehicle and carport fire in the 1100 block of Colorado Avenue.
When firefighters arrived on scene, they found five vehicles fully involved, a carport heavily involved, and a duplex starting to catch fire. The incident was upgraded to a commercial structure fire which brought in several additional units from Turlock Fire, Modesto Fire, and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire.
Firefighters began fire attack and were able to bring the fire under control within about an hour, keeping it contained to eight vehicles (three additional ones from what were on fire when they first arrived), the carport, and duplex, which were all either completely burnt or extensively damaged.
No one was injured, however, six people were displaced, four adults and two children. The American Red Cross responded to provide assistance.
While officers were conducting traffic control, they were flagged down by residents at the complex who stated that they believed the fire started underneath their vehicle.
Through the investigation, officers learned that Santiago Ojeda, 32, of Turlock, had arrived at the complex where a relative of his ex-girlfriend lived, looking for her. When Ojeda was unsuccessful in locating her, he left and started the fire.
As officers spoke to the victims, they learned that Santiago had made threats to burn the victim’s car and residence.
Once the ex-girlfriend arrived, it was confirmed that Santiago was the suspect and she reported a domestic violence incident that occurred the night prior.
Officer Nunez went to Ojeda’s apartment complex in the 900 block of N. Olive Avenue where he located him in the parking lot near his vehicle. Ojeda attempted to flee from Nunez and assisting officers, however, was unsuccessful in his efforts and was taken into custody in just a little over two hours after the entire ordeal started.
Ojeda was arrested and taken to the Turlock Police Department where he was interrogated. Officers and fire investigators processed Ojeda’s vehicle for evidence before ultimately impounding it.
After interrogation, Ojeda was booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on two counts of arson of an inhabited structure, arson of a structure, eight counts of arson of property, 11 counts of vandalism, obstructing or resisting a public officer in the discharge of their duty, domestic violence inflicting corporal injury, and assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury or death.
He also had a $50,000 felony warrant for domestic violence inflicting corporal injury, false imprisonment, and dissuading a witness that he was booked on.
The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information that could assist in it is encouraged to call Officer Dominic Rios at 209-668-1200.