Tenant responds to eviction notice by setting apartment on fire

A 58-year-old man who tried to set his Excelsior apartment ablaze after he was served with an eviction notice pleaded not guilty to two felony charges earlier this week.

Ronald Jaranilla is accused of “breaking items” and “screaming at the top of his lungs” in the downstairs unit he rents near Edinburgh Street and Amazon Avenue May 7 before setting several small indoor fires, according to a police incident report.

Police said Jaranilla lit cardboard and other flammable objects aflame on the floor and stove, leaving burn marks along the walls of the apartment.

The smoke alerted his landlord, who lives upstairs and called 911 at 4:50 p.m. The fire department responded, alongside police, and put out several fires in the apartment while officers attempted to apprehend Jaranilla.

But Jaranilla “violently resisted” the first two responding officers and was not detained until backup arrived, police said.

Jaranilla was booked at County Jail on four felony arson-related charges and a misdemeanor for resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer. But prosecutors are trying him on two of the five initial counts for arson.

He is still in custody and bail is set at $50,000. Jaranilla is expected to appear in court for a hearing May 26.

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