Merced police looking for arson suspect accused of house fire near Bear Creek

·1 min read
Merced police

The Merced Police Department is seeking the public’s help locating a man who detectives believe set fire to a residence he lived in with other tenants.

Andrew Joseph Ballard, 29, is wanted for arson after allegedly sparking the fire early Thursday morning at the property in the 400 block of West North Bear Creek Drive.

After City of Merced firefighters responded to the incident, the cause of the blaze was determined as arson. Merced police officers were then called to the scene to investigate.

Officers discovered the home was listed for sale at the time of the fire. The current tenants, including Ballard, were in the process of moving elsewhere, according to the Merced Police Department.

Merced Police Detectives took over the investigation and ultimately determined that Ballard was responsible for setting the residence on fire.

Detectives are now asking the public for help with locating Ballard. Anyone with knowledge of the incident can contact Detective Patrick Radke at (209) 388-7725 or by email at The incident’s case number is 22-48497.

Tips can be given anonymously by calling (209)385-4725 or given online at