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Occupant charged with setting house ablaze
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A Turlock man found himself under arrest Sunday morning on the allegation he deliberately set his house on fire.

Richard Russell Jr., 31, was booked into Stanislaus County Jail on a single charge of arson from the two-alarm blaze at his residence in the 1200 block of W. Springer Drive.

Russell was the only occupant at the home.

No injuries were reported.

The Turlock Fire Department was dispatched around 6 a.m. for a reported garage fire. Fire fighters found heavy smoke coming from inside the home and made an interior attack on it, according to Battalion Chief Gary Lunsford.

Four fire engines and 15 fire personnel were at the scene to fight the fire and for the ensuing investigation.

The fire was brought under control in about 45 minutes and was kept from spreading to the neighboring homes.

The fire caused an estimated $150,000 in property damage and only $100 in content loss. Fire Marshall Mark Gomez said there were very little contents inside the home at the time of the fire.

The cause of ignition and the point of origin remain under investigation. There was some type of accelerant present in the home, according to the fire department.

Upon questioning from investigators, Russell admitted to starting the fire and was placed under arrest, Turlock Police Lt. Ron Reid said.

A motive behind the arson was not released by the police department because the investigation is ongoing.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.