NewsCovering Kern County


Oildale arsonist found guilty on 12 counts

DOCS: Damon Franklin set eight fires over two days
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jun 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-11 19:52:27-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The District Attorney's Office announced the man behind several fires in Oildale two years ago was found guilty Tuesday in court on 12 felony counts of arson.

According to court documents in September of 2017 Damon Franklin went on an arson spree in Oildale, setting fires at eight separate locations that burned seven structures and five items of personal property during a 32-hour period. That series of fires began just after midnight on September 26, 2017.

Documents say Franklin set a vacant house on fire that also burned an inhabited apartment building next door. Then he set fire to five more buildings, including the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Sharon Place.

Before the fires at several locations, witnesses observed Franklin gathering brush and vegetation on the targeted properties. Arson investigators determined he was using these and other materials to fuel the fires.

On the morning of September 27, 2017, Franklin set three more fires in an alley behind a row of apartment complexes on North Chester Avenue. A witness observed him walking quickly away from the area and alerted law enforcement. Kern County Sheriff's deputies responded to the location and arrested Franklin.

Sentencing for Franklin is set for July 9, 2019. He faces a sentence of over 300 years-to-life in prison as a result of the twelve felony arson convictions