MODESTO, Calif. Aug 9 2017
A man armed with knives was arrested after he intentionally set fire to a baptist church in Modesto, fire officials said Tuesday.
Modesto fire crews were alerted of the fire at 11:25 p.m. Monday at the Christ Unity Baptist Church in the 1300 block of L Street, where firefighters saw light smoke coming from the first and second floors at a corner of the church.
A security guard told firefighters that someone was inside breaking windows and setting fires, fire officials said.
Fire sprinklers helped keep the flames under control, and Modesto police searched for the arsonist, identified as Theodore Garcia, 57, the police department said.
Garcia was found holding knives near the front of the church next to the altar. He did not cooperate with officers commands, police said.
SWAT officers eventually arrested Garcia after more than two hours.
Fire crews finished extinguishing the fire, which was contained to mattresses and clothes piles in the basement, the fire department said.
No one was injured in the blaze, and there is no estimated cost of the damage.
Garcia was booked on charges of arson and vandalism.