Deputies rescue woman, arrest man suspected of starting fire in Modesto

Within minutes of arriving at the scene of a house fire in south Modesto on Monday, Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies rescued a woman trapped by the fire and arrested the man suspected of starting it.

Sgt. Darwin Hatfield and Deputy Andrew Winter were the first on scene at the fire in the 1700 block of Spokane Street at about 4 p.m., said sheriff’s Sgt. Josh Clayton.

There was a man in front of the home suffering from burns on his upper body and a woman yelling for help from a trailer in the driveway.

“The entrance to the travel trailer was obstructed by smoke and fire, so they had to pull her and several dogs out through the window,” Clayton said.

Winter then apprehended a man suspected of starting the fire. The suspect told Winter that he started the fire after an argument with his father by pouring lighter fluid and tossing a lit cigarette on a couch, Clayton said.

The suspect’s father was burned while trying to extinguish the flames. He was taken to a local hospital with second-degree burns. The woman the deputies rescued was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

The home was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. It took them about 30 minutes to put out the fire. Four people were displaced.

The suspect, 30-year-old Patrick Aaron Dean II, was arrested on suspicion of arson of an inhabited dwelling resulting in injury. He remained in the Stanislaus County Jail on $200,000 bail as of late Tuesday afternoon.

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Erin has been covering breaking news and crime at The Modesto Bee since 2010. She is a Humboldt State graduate and resides in Oakdale.