Police arrested a man Friday on suspicion of arson after wood pallets were set on fire outside the Walmart on Sanguinetti Road.

Photos released on social media by Sonora Police staff showed firefighters in full turnout gear using hoses to douse flames on smoking pallets.

Police said the incident began unfolding before 3:30 a.m. Dec. 29 when city law enforcement and fire personnel responded to a report of “a large fire” behind Walmart. They found flames and smoke coming off several stacks of pallets and firefighters put the fire out.

The cause of the fire appeared to be suspicious. Sonora Police looked at Walmart surveillance video and saw a man “intentionally start the fire,” police staff said.

Police recognized the man as Aaron Eugene Jolley, 32, of Sonora, and arrested him later that morning. Jolley was booked on suspicion of arson to property at Tuolumne County Jail.

Asked Monday for information about Jolley’s status as an inmate at Tuolumne County Jail, sheriff’s staff referred questions to a public information officer. Three and a half hours later, sheriff’s Sgt. Andrea Benson said Jolley was released on bail.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter @GuyMcCarthy.

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