NEWMAN - A Newman man is accused of deliberately setting fire to his parents’ Marapole Court home last Wednesday night, Sept. 25, officials said.
Thomas F. Voshall, 35, faces multiple felony charges in conjunction with the incident, authorities said.
According to the Stanislaus County Superior Court website, Voshall faces charges which include two counts of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, one count of arson of an inhabited building and two counts of elder abuse. Each is a felony, and each charge carries enhancements.
Voshall was arrested Sept. 26 and is being held on $640,000 bail, according to county jail records.
The fire followed reports that Voshall had been acting erratically that night, Newman Police Lt. Brett Short told Mattos Newspapers.
Short said that police went to the home in response to a 911 call at about 11 p.m. reporting that Voshall was acting erratically. Short said the officers had responded and cleared the scene when a second 911 call came in, 22 minutes after the first, reporting that Voshall was back at the residence.
While that 911 call was in progress, Short said, the caller reported that the house was on fire. Firefighters were dispatched at 11:23 p.m.
Fire units first on the scene reported seeing flames and smoke through a second-story bedroom window, Fire Chief Keith Bowen reported. He said that reports at the scene indicated that the suspect had lit a fire and barricaded himself inside a bedroom.
While his parents had escaped the home and were accounted for, Short told Mattos Newspapers, Voshall’s whereabouts were not immediately known.
According to police reports, officers were told that Voshall was believed to still be in the residence.
Officers entered the structure but could not locate Voshall, according to police reports. Firefighters extensively searched the residence, Bowen said, but determined that Voshall was not in the home.
Bowen said fire investigators determined that he would have had the opportunity to exit the structure before units arrived on scene.
Voshall was arrested shortly after noon Thursday at Carpenter and West Main by a Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputy and turned over to Newman police.
About 20 firefighters from Newman, Merced County/Gustine, Patterson city and the West Stanislaus Fire Protection District responded to the blaze.
Bowen said firefighters were on the scene for more than four hours.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries when struck by falling sheet rock during the cleanup process, Bowen said, and was treated at the scene.
Short said Voshall is believed to be a local transient who may have stayed occasionally in the home but was not thought to be living at that address.
Damage to the home was estimated at $157,500.