Woman starts fire inside Merced thrift store by burning clothing items

Merced Police said they are investigating an arson that occurred at a business near downtown Merced.

Police and the firefighters responded to a fire at the Merced Thrift Store, located at 1347 West Main Street in Merced shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

According to Capt. Bimley West, a woman in her 20s grabbed several clothing items and placed them on the floor inside the business before lighting them on fire and walking out.

Authorities said the fire was extinguished and no injuries were reported.

No other damage was reported to the store and the fire did not spread to the building’s structure.

Police obtained surveillance footage of the incident and are attempting to locate the woman.

West said police hope to take the woman into custody before she starts more fires.

“This is definitely not a good thing and puts many other lives in peril because of her actions,” West said.

Merced City Fire Battalion Chief Jeremy Franklin said firefighters also responded to a report of another fire in the area near the Siesta Motel shortly before 5 p.m.

Firefighters arrived to find a shopping cart on fire. It was extinguished and did not spread to any nearby structures, according to Franklin.