A 44-year-old California man with previous arrests for arson was jailed for allegedly setting fire to a cell tower on Friday, July 8, 2022.According to the Kings County, CA Sheriff’s Office, at 8:20 a.m. deputies were dispatched to Stratford Elementary School after it was reported the cell tower at this location was on fire.
Kings County Fire Department was already on scene and requested assistance to investigate a possible vandalism.
As deputies arrived, they saw smoke billowing out of the cell tower along with a strong smell of burnt plastic in the air, most likely the transmission lines inside the monopole.
A witness in the area relayed they had seen an adult male enter the fenced in area around the cell tower and later observed this male leave once the fire started.
The description of the male matched that of Glenn Dunkel who lived just north of the school. Deputies had previously investigated Glenn for vandalism to the school.
Deputies contacted Glenn at his residence, but he screamed at authorities and stated he did not wish to speak to them. As deputies continued efforts to speak with Glenn, he showed signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance with these suspicions later being confirmed.
Glenn was arrested and booked into Kings County Jail for being under the influence of a controlled substance. Glenn was also found to have a warrant out of San Bernardino County with a bail of $25,000.
As the investigation into the fire continued, authorities viewed video surveillance from the school. The footage showed Glenn entering the area with a plastic bottle with an unknown liquid. Glenn had a silver object in his other hand that appeared to be a lighter. This lighter was located on Glenn during his arrest.
Glenn was seen placing the unknown liquid into an opening on the cell tower and then reaching with his hand to extend the lighter into the opening.
Glenn left a short time later where smoke can be seen coming from the tower.
Deputies worked closely with Kings County Fire Investigators and it was determined Glenn started the fire.
The initial estimate to repair the tower is over $100,000. The damage caused major disruption to the Stratford area in regards to internet and cell phone service.
Glenn was charged with arson, vandalism and trespassing. His bail was set at $150,000.
Glenn’s previous arson felony charges are available here.