A 46-year-old Ceres man was booked Thursday morning for intentionally setting grass on fire behind Cost Less Foods on Hatch Road.
A Ceres firefighter told Officer Jeremy Caron that he saw Rendon standing near some taller grass at the base of a tree in the southeast portion of a fenced storm basin. Rendon began walking away as a small fire had started. The firefighter alerted employees of Cost Less Market along with his partner, who was also nearby delivering goods.
The firefighters grabbed a fire extinguisher and went to extinguish the fire while keeping an eye on suspect Ralph Rendon, 46, of Ceres, who was sitting on a nearby curb. The fire was quickly extinguished. When the firefighters approached Rendon he began walking off and had to be detained.
Rendon was on active parole and arrested. He denied starting the fire, but Ceres Fire Investigator Paul Spani recommended Rendon be arrested for arson based on witnesses and corroborating evidence.
Rendon was found with two operable cigarette lighters in his pocket.
Ceres Police investigated two prior suspicious dumpster fires in the 1400 block of Hatch Road around 2:30 a.m. that morning and Rendon was seen at the scene of one of those fires.