Oakdale man arrested on suspicion of setting home fire

An Oakdale man was arrested late Sunday night on suspicion of attempted murder after police say he may have intentionally set fire to an occupied duplex on East J. Street.

Police and fire crews were called to the fire in the 700 block of East J. Street at 9:09 p.m., according to the Oakdale Police Department.

When crews arrived, they found the back of the duplex in flames.

Homeowners at the scene said James Wertz, 28, who had lived there with his wife and several other people, told police they believe Wertz may have set the fire.

Witnesses said he and his wife got into a dispute and went outside to argue. Wertz told his wife that the duplex was on fire, and then fled, witnesses said.

His wife ran back to the duplex, opened the bedroom door, saw the fire and told everyone to get out. All of the occupants got out safely, including an 80-year-old man, who had difficulty walking.

Wertz was arrested without incident a short time later after being found a few blocks away at a friend’s house.

View Larger Map