YUCCA VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — A 56-year-old man suspected of setting fire to a commercial structure in Yucca Valley remained in custody on Friday.

Dennis Lee Chance, of Yucca Valley, was arrested on suspicion of arson, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Firefighters were sent just before 1:30 a.m. to the 58500 block of Twentynine Palms Highway for report of a second-alarm fire.

Upon their arrival, crews located multiple propane tank cages fully engulfed in flames in front of a Walmart Super Center, which subsequently caught on fire.

Employees were evacuated and accounted for outside of the building.

No injuries were reported.

Due to an aggressive fire attack, the business will remain open and provide services to the community.

Fire damage to the building has been estimated to be between $100,000 to $200,000 at this time.

City officials explained the store opened in 2013. It is the largest retailer in the Morongo Basin.

During a preliminary investigation, deputies and Walmart managers reviewed surveillance video, which showed Chance using gasoline and a lighter to set set fire to the caged racks of 15 gallon propane tanks, located outside of the garden section of the store.

“An extensive search of the area was conducted and led deputies to a nearby gas station,” explained Sgt. Michael Landavazo. “Chance was captured on video purchasing gasoline and pumping it into what appeared to be a white Clorox type bottle approximately one hour before the incident.”

He was detained during an area search, and was later interviewed by detectives from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Arson/Bomb Division.

Chance is being held on $250,000 at the Morongo Basin Jail.


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