Mendota grandmother forced to call police on grandson after believing he set fire to her home

MENDOTA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Shattered glass and charred furniture sit in front of the fire-damaged house that 81-year-old Antonia Ramirez-Martinez has called home for decades.

She says on Wednesday night, she was forced to call the fire department and police after she claims her grandson started a fire near the living room.

"My grandson started a fire with some papers he was burning," Ramirez-Martinez said. "He's got that Schizophrenia disease. Vincent didn't like to take medication."

At least 20 Fresno County firefighters from CAL FIRE and the Firebaugh City Fire Department responded to the home off Rio Frio in Mendota.

"Luckily, in this case, the seed of the fire was right in the front of the house," says Cal Fire Battalion Chief Roger Raines. "We were able to get to it right away initially through the front window."

However, firefighters had their challenges once they were in the home.

"The conditions are a hoarder-type situation," Raines said. "There were numerous piles of refuse and items that blocked our ability to search through the house."

No one was injured, but the homeowner's grandson was detained and taken to the Mendota Police Department for questioning.

"It's real painful," Ramirez-Martinez said. "It hurts me that it has to come to this. It hadn't gotten this bad until today, so I had no choice but to call the Mendota Police Department."

Firefighters couldn't put an estimate on the damage, and fire officials are still investigating.

They say the Red Cross does plan to help. The homeowner says she'll be staying with family until she can return home.

"I'll get over it," Ramirez-Martinez said. "I'll just clean inside and do what I have to do."
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