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Suspected arsonist arrested: reportedly set fire at Wasco schools, former golf clubhouse

Photo: Kern County Fire Department{p}{/p}
Photo: Kern County Fire Department

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UPDATE (4:18 p.m.)

KCSO officials confirmed that the man accused of lighting property on fire in Wasco is allegedly responsible for the 2-alarm fire at the site of the former Valley Rose Golf Clubhouse that happened on Tuesday, May 23.

It was estimated that $250,000 was lost in the fire of the 10,000-square-foot property, said Kern fire officials in a statement.


Kern County Sheriff's deputies have arrested a man they say is responsible for vandalizing and setting fire at multiple schools in Wasco over the last week.

Arson investigators with the Kern County Fire Department say between May 19 and May 23, there were multiple reports of vandalism and/or arson to James A. Forrest Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Wasco Union High School, and in the 300 Block of Leonard Avenue.

All of which caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, officials say.

Investigators later identified Luis Villareal, 25, as a person of interest in all of the incidents.

On Wednesday around 3 am, deputies arrested Villareal and booked him into jail for an active misdemeanor warrant, as well as possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of illegal narcotics.

During the investigation, the Kern County Fire Department Arson Unit also charged Villareal with multiple counts of vandalism and arson.

Charges are pending in connection to the arsons at Wasco Union High School and 300 Block of Leonard Avenue.

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Anyone with information on these investigations is asked to contact the Kern County Sheriff’s Office at (661) 861-3110 or Secret Witness at (661) 322-4040.

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