By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Turlock warehouses destroyed in arson fires
arson fire B street
Turlock firefighters battle a blaze at a B Street warehouse Saturday night. One man, Richard Ray, was later arrested for arson (Photo by retired Fire Capt. Scott Wejmar).

Turlock firefighters battled two blazes on back-to-back nights and both of them have been determined to have been cases of arson.

One person has been arrested in connection with one of the fires and in the other case, the police are looking at video evidence, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Parmley.

There were no injuries reported from either fire.

The Turlock Fire Department was dispatched to the first fire at 9:22 p.m. Friday at a warehouse in the 400 block of S. First Street. The property is a string of warehouse type structures bordered by railroad tracks on one side and residential homes on the other side.

arson fire First Street
A fire at a warehouse in the 400 block of S. First Street is believed to be a case of arson. A witness said he had video evidence of the fire (Photo courtesy of Turlock Fire Department).

The first firefighters to arrive at the scene found the building fully engulfed in flames. The fire was brought under control in about 30 minutes with help from neighboring fire departments. crews remained at the scene for about two and a half hours for containment and clean-up.

A Turlock police officer spoke with a witness at the scene who said he had video footage that could be possible evidence.

"The witness said in the video footage you see three people exit the building prior to the onset of the fire," Parmley said.

The damage from the fire was estimated to be around $20,000, Parmley said.

There was no information released on suspect(s) description or what was used to start the fire.

The second fire was called in at 8:47 p.m. Saturday and was located in the 300 block of B Street. It also was a warehouse that had been set on fire.

The fire was contained in approximately one and a half hours and firefighters remained at the scene for four and a half hours for clean-up, said Turlock Fire spokesman Capt. Jason Bernard.

At the scene of the fire, firefighters noticed a man hanging around and a police officer made contact with him. The man, identified as Richard Ray, 42, claimed to be responsible for starting the fire, Parmley said.

Richard Ray
Richard Ray

Ray told the police that he was staying in a trailer that did not belong to him and that he set it on fire. It quickly ignited and spread to the nearby B Street building.

"There was no indication it was a warming fire that got out of control," Parmley said.

The flames raced through the building and caused an estimated $250,000 in damage.

There was no indication the two fires were connected.

Ray was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on two charges of arson and remains in custody in lieu of a $150,000 bail. Ray also is facing a second strike filing because of previous convictions for battery.

Anyone with information about either fire is asked to call the Turlock Police Department tip line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email at Callers can also contact Turlock Fire Marshal Mark Gomez at (209) 669-2119 or