Visalia, CA – Parking garage dumpster fire controlled thanks to fire sprinklers, ruled arson

A Visalia man with a history of lighting fire was arrested in connection with a downtown Visalia Dumpster fire. 

Around 12:55 p.m. Thursday, Visalia firefighters responded to a fire behind 227 E. Main St, near the Main Street Theatre. The Dumpster was in an enclosure that is part of the east Acequia parking structure, which is equipped with a sprinkler system.

Smoke activated the sprinklers which kept the fire from spreading. The fire caused only minor damage, according to Sgt. Russ Gauger.

On Friday, officers were called to the corner of Main and Court streets by a downtown security guard. The security guard told police he saw a man he’d seen near the Dumpster just moments before Thursday’s fire.  

Officers found and spoke with Charles Spurlock, 40. After some follow up investigation, Spurlock was identified as the suspected arsonist, Gauger said.

Spurlock was arrested in August 2016 in connection to a string of Visalia fires set just hours apart. During the incident, Spurlock tried to outrun officers but was eventually arrested after a perimeter was set up in the backyard of house near Savannah Street and Judy Street.

In 2017, he was held to answer on numerous felony charges related to the case. 

Spurlock was arrested on suspicion of arson, possession of a controlled substance and a parole violation. He was booked into Tulare County Pretrial Facility. His bail is set at $50,000.