Fire at vacant house blamed on homeless

One person arrested, suspect in arson case

By Corey Pride / cpride@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 21, 2012 

A fight between homeless people resulted in one of them allegedly committing arson, according to the Los Banos Police Department.

Lena Rogge, 33, of Los Banos, has been arrested on suspicion of arson following a two-alarm fire at a vacant home in the 800 block of E Street.

Fire Chief Chet Guintini said his department was called to the abandoned residence at 8 a.m. Wednesday. As firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out of the windows of the 1,800-square-foot structure, causing a second alarm to be called.

No one was injured in the fire.

The blaze destroyed the home's roof. Guintini said the fire started following a disagreement. The fire department determined that the fire was set intentionally and police were called.

"We found out there were some homeless (one male, one female)inside the structure who had a dispute," he said. "It appears that she was angry at her boyfriend and took a lighter to the mattress."

According to police Cmdr. Ray Reyna Jr., law enforcement believed Rogge was responsible but they had to search for her because she left the scene. Authorities reportedly found Rogge hiding inside a residence on the 900 block of F Street.

Rogge is in custody at the Los Banos Police Department Jail pending $100,000 bond.

The Los Banos Fire Department had four engines, two command vehicles and an air unit respond to the scene. A Merced County Engine also assisted in battling the fire.

The fire was not the first at the home, Guintini said. He said in 2011 a shed in back of the building burned down and homeless people are believed to have caused that blaze as well.

Reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 388-6563 or

Reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 388-6563 or

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