Man Who Broke Into Fire Station Said to be ‘Seeking Refuge’

MODESTO -- A fire station in Modesto was broken into Wednesday night; the man was trying to find safety because he thought he was being followed.

The door is still boarded up at Fire Station 1 in downtown Modesto and the battalion chief said this is a minor inconvenience that adds to the strain of an already tight budget for the department.

While on a call for CPR, around 10 Wednesday night, battalion chief Dain Jesberg overheard dispatch saying someone had broken into his fire station, station 1 in downtown Modesto.

“I wasn’t too shocked when I heard it but I was a little concerned, so I made my way back here,” said Jesberg.

What he found when he arrived was a front door that had been shattered and 43-year-old, John Mendiola, with significant cuts on his hands and arms.

“I realized pretty quickly we had a situation on our hands.” Jesberg said.

Modesto police say Mendiola was high on meth at the time he burst through the window.

“I overheard him say he just got out of prison and that he was walking down the street and someone was chasing him with a weapon of some type, so he decided to get into our station to seek some type of refuge,” Jesberg said.

Police say Mendiola has not been booked yet because he has not been released from the hospital.

Jesberg says the door had original quarter inch thick plate glass.

“We will replace that with some updated safety glass. It’s going to cost some money, about $1000 or more to replace. Our budgets are pretty thin as it is so it’s one more thing we’ve got to spend money on,” said Jesberg.

Wednesday’s incident came just days after 46-year-old Raul Lopez broke into Modesto’s downtown jail last Saturday. The jail is now being used as a court holding facility and is a few blocks away from Fire Station 1.

“The homeless situation is what it is. It’s improving a little bit. We still have quite a few people in the streets at night time, trying to get into buildings, obviously, for different reasons. It’s concerning, obviously,” expressed Jesberg.

Mendiola is set to be booked on felony vandalism and burglary charges when he is released from the hospital.