VIDEO: Arson suspect arrested after inferno envelops vehicles, damages Turlock duplex

VIDEO: Arson suspect arrested after inferno envelops vehicles, damages Turlock duplex

TURLOCK – Surveillance video shows a man running from the scene of a massive fire just before it torched a Turlock apartment complex Sunday night. 

According to the Turlock Fire Department, crews initially responded to the scene along the 1100 block of Colorado Avenue for a reported vehicle fire a little after 10 p.m. Sunday. While on their way, crews learned that the carport was also apparently on fire.

At the scene, firefighters found that multiple vehicles were catching fire; the duplex nearby was also starting to get involved.

Police say this was all allegedly done by a man targeting an ex-girlfriend.

Ring video shows the inferno engulfing cars and spreading to homes. The same camera recorded a scene moments earlier: An SUV pulling up to the area before leaving. And then, minutes later, the moment of ignition — with a man running from the flames. 

A close-up view shows the man caught in the fire before leaving the scene.  

It took crews about an hour to get the flames under control. By the time the incident was over, Turlock Fire says a total of eight vehicles had been damaged. The duplex had also suffered “significant” damage, firefighters say, and the carport was a total loss.

“We almost lost our lives, actually,” said Leann Blocher, who escaped the fire. 

Blocher was inside her home and was still shaken from the fiery explosion that shattered her windows. 

“It was unbelievable, it was so unbelievable,” Blocher said. “You could feel the heat, you could smell it. It was just so intense.”

The aftermath of the fire shows how high the flames reached, burning the tops of 100-foot-tall Cyprus trees. 

The property damage will take months to assess. 

Turlock police have arrested 32-year-old Santiago Astorga Ojeda, an ex-boyfriend of a woman who lived at the complex. He faces a long list of charges, including: arson, vandalism, obstruction of justice, domestic violence, assault, battery, abandonment of children, and intimidating witnesses. 

Six people have been displaced by the fire. Incredibly, no one here was hurt. 

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