Friday , May 24 2024

4-Alarm Fire Burns in Central Fresno Neighborhood

As many as 10 structures, including two homes, were damaged in a four-alarm fire that affected a central Fresno neighborhood Tuesday. 

No injuries were reported. The fire broke out around 3:30 p.m. behind a home in the 1300 block of Calaveras near Blackstone and McKinley.

The cause of the fire is unknown. Fire investigators are working to determine whether the wind spread flying embers, causing another home down the street and around the corner to catch fire, or whether the fire started separately.

"We did have a lot of wind during that moment in time, so flames and embers were coming across the street, and then those were starting to catch fires across the street," said Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis.

The fire started in an garage behind a home where Eric Gordon said he was alone and asleep after doing some remodeling work for a friend.

But fortunately for him, he said someone woke him up about five minutes before the fire broke out.

"Lucky for the guy who came by and woke me up, to tell you the truth. There’s no telling. It went up so fast. It’s just amazing," Gordon said. 

At the same time, a home around the corner on Hedges near Calaveras also caught fire where Courtney Okerson lives.

Okerson said she went outside when she smelled smoke, but she returned to find her home on fire, and her young daughter outside scared.

"I was so scared. Once I seen her, I was like, thank God she’s alive. I was just happy. My mom said that she walked in or opened the door, and just flames came at her. She grabbed my daughter–they ran outside," Okerson said.

About 50 firefighters battled the flames and heavy smoke. Fresno Fire called in a strike team for help.

"We have firefighters from Orange Cove, Reedley, Sanger, Clovis, Cal Fire. They’re all here. They’ve come in to help with manpower," said Pete Martinez, public information officer with the Fresno Fire Department. 

Fresno fire crews are coming off a busy 48 hours battling multiple house, vegetation and commercial fires, and now a new shift gets a very busy start.

"Starting out with a four-alarm fire and a strike team, which looks more like a six-alarm fire–that’s a lot of fire activity in the city of Fresno, and it’s very taxing on the crew that just got here," Martinez said.

The Red Cross is helping as many as 10 people from three homes affected by this fire, according to Jessica Piffero with the American Red Cross.

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