Social services fire was arson, officials say

archive_import /

By AMY LINDBLOM

Tuolumne County fire and sheriff's department investigators have no leads into who deliberately started fire a late Sunday evening at the Social Services office on North Cedar Road in Sonora.

The fire destroyed a four-wheel-drive truck, a storage shed and items stored in the shed. Kent Skellenger, Social Services Director said that after looking over all the damage, the fire cost his department $24,431.57.

In addition to destroying the truck, used by a welfare fraud investigator, four other vehicles were damaged but repairable.

When firefighters arrived, the shed and truck were fully engulfed and threatening nearby cars and buildings.

According to a Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department report, two melted jugs of Hillyard Deep-Action carpet cleaner were found next to the burned truck.

Another gallon jug of the same cleaner was found next to two more vehicles parked on the north side of the burned truck. The solution had been poured over the hoods of both cars.

The report said a fuel line had been cut on a fourth vehicle, and an empty gallon jug of Clorox bleach was found next to the car. The gas cap on a fifth vehicle was open and a plastic hose had been inserted into the tank.

Skellenger said the carpet cleaner and bleach were apparently taken from the storage shed, where the housekeeping crew keep janitorial supplies.

Eight computer printers stored in the shed were consumed by the fire.

"We've had random acts of violence in the past, but we have no idea who might have done this," Skellenger said.

Tuolumne County District Attorney Investigator Keri Ford is working with both the Sheriff's Department and CDF investigators on the fire.

Anyone with information is asked to call California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Richard Imlach at 532-0821, or the Crime Hotline at 984-1911.

Contact Amy Lindblom at alindblom@uniondemocrat.com .

11703379
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Sunday May 1, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
New $65M courthouse to open by end of 2019

04/26/2016

State officials are working with architectural consultants on final designs for a ... more

Lake is full, marina is open

04/26/2016

The temperature was in the high 20s Tuesday morning when Jacob Hartley, ... more

Increased pulse flows for fish begin on Stanislaus River

04/26/2016

Agencies that control flows on the Stanislaus River below Tulloch and New ... more

Rim Fire recovery plan released

04/28/2016

Federal custodians of the Stanislaus National Forest are publishing a plan today ... more

Director resigns as infighting continues

04/27/2016

Bryan Adcox has resigned from the Mother Lode Fair Board of Directors ... more