Police arrested an Oakdale man on suspicion of attempted murder and arson following a structure fire in a duplex located in the 700 block of East J Street, Sunday evening, Nov. 21.
Police and fire were dispatched to a working structure fire burning the back complex of the duplex. Officers evacuated the surrounding residences while firefighters attacked the blaze.
While talking to the homeowners of the duplex, it was discovered the fire may have been intentionally set by James Wertz, 28. According to the victims, Wertz lived at the East J Street complex with his wife and several other people, including two 13-year-old girls.
The witnesses indicated that Wertz was the last person in the bedroom and that Wertz and his wife had gone outside to argue. During the argument Wertz told his wife that the house was on fire and then fled.
The wife ran back into the house and when she opened the bedroom door, the backdraft started. The wife yelled to everyone in the house to evacuate. Several subjects in the home had to assist an 80-year-old man who had a hard time walking.
Wertz was found a few blocks away at a friend’s house, which overlooks the burned out home. Wertz was arrested without incident. Previously, Wertz has been arrested for domestic violence.