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Runaways cause fire at vacant Turlock home

POSTED March 20, 2018 6:36 p.m.

Two runaway boys, ages 11 and 12, were arrested on suspicion of arson for starting a fire in a vacant Turlock home Monday morning.

The fire was at a vacant home in the 2800 block of Ball Court and was started when the boys lit something in the fireplace that exploded, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Russ Holeman. It’s unknown what caused the explosion.

At 8:17 a.m. Monday the Turlock Fire Department was dispatched to the area after neighbors reported hearing a large boom and then seeing smoke billow out of the home, which neighbors knew to be vacant.

The first arriving engine kept the fire isolated to the room where the fire originated, while the

 second and third companies did a rapid search and vented the house, said Turlock Fire spokesman Capt. Kevin Tidwell.

There were no injuries reported from the fire, which was brought under control quickly.

“The fire could have easily spread throughout the vacant home, threatening surrounding structures,” Turlock Fire Chief Robert Talloni said.

Police were able to obtain surveillance video from a neighbor, which showed the two boys running from the home. At about the same time a police officer was taking a report of two boys who had runaway from their group home. The description of the boys matched that of the two boys seen running from the fire.

“They [the boys] returned while we were on scene taking the runaway report and were positively identified as being the responsible,” Holeman said.

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