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Man twice sets house ablaze with family inside
J.D. Dwaine Lucas
J.D. Dwaine Lucas

A Turlock man is in custody after twice setting fire to a home that was occupied by a family, including three young children.

J.D. Dwaine Lucas, 37, of Turlock was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on two counts of arson on an inhabited dwelling and six counts of willful harm or injury to a child for the two incidents.

The two incidents of arson came to light when a fire broke out around 8:15 a.m. June 2 at a home in the 500 block of Sunnyside Drive.

The fire was first noticed by a neighbor, who ran across the street to awaken the three adults and three young children who were all sleeping inside. All the occupants made it out of the home safely.

The Turlock Fire Department responded to the scene and was able to extinguish the fire quickly. Even with the quick response, the fire caused a moderate amount of damage to the home.

The Turlock Fire Department determined that the fire was caused by an incendiary device that had been thrown at the home.

Turlock Police Detective Gina Giovacchini was assigned to the case and responded to the scene. In speaking with the homeowners Giovacchini learned this fire was not the first the residents had dealt with in a short amount of time.

On May 24, an incendiary device had been thrown at the home and sparked a fire. However, the residents were able to extinguish it themselves and did not report the incident to the police department.

As the investigation progressed, Giovacchini identified Lucas as a prime suspect. It’s unknown at this time what linked Lucas to the two blazes.

On Monday, Giovacchini determined a location where Lucas would possibly be. He was located and taken into custody without incident.

Anyone with any information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Detective Gina Giovacchini by calling (209) 668-6539.