Buildings on a property located on Ash Avenue went up in flames just shy of 1 a.m. on July 2. The buildings were a replica “ghost town” that featured a saloon, blacksmith shop full of antique equipment, and an A-frame church, and was built by the property’s residents for family members and friends to enjoy.
Firefighters from both West Stanislaus Fire Protection District and Patterson Fire Department responded to the call, and prevented the fire from spreading to other parts of the property.
Following an investigation, Stanislaus Fire Investigation Unit investigators arrested Jon Raymond Washburn, 49, on suspicion of arson, with an enhancement for using an accelerant.
“He made a statement admitting to starting the fire; he said he used flammable liquid and ignited it using a butane torch,” Dustin Bruley, supervisor of the Stanislaus Fire Investigation Unit was quoted in a Modesto Bee article dated July 3. “Investigators gathered evidence…that matched the admission he gave investigators at the scene.”
Bruley estimated the total cost of damages at about $300,000, according to the article.
Washburn was being held in Stanislaus County Jail with a bail set originally at $200,000 on three arson-related charges. In a hearing held on July 9 the bail was formally increased to $300,000. He is scheduled to be back in court on Aug. 13.