Sunday , June 23 2024

Fresno Firefighters Investigate Cause of Large Downtown Fire

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<p>A large fire engulfed a vacant building in downtown&nbsp;Fresno&nbsp;believed to be used as a church years ago. The fire at Grant and Abby (near Belmont Avenue)&nbsp;started around 5:45 p.m.&nbsp;Friday.</p><p>&quot;[Because of] the heavy fire on arrival and the condition of the building, our crews opted to stay out of the structure due to the safety of our folks,&quot; said Battalion Chief Todd Tuggle with the Fresno Fire Department.</p><p>With five engines and two rigs, firefighters fought the blaze from the outside. There’s concern the vacant building could collapse onto the neighboring business and homes.</p><p>&quot;I was really scared. That’s the problem–t’s so close and it’s such a big building that it would catch our house on fire,&quot; said Hal O’Neal, who lives across the street from the burning building.</p><p>O’Neal saw flames from Hwy 180 while driving home. The view from our skycam, with&nbsp;a&nbsp;towering plume of&nbsp;smoke visible,&nbsp;shows how large the fire burned.</p><p>Firefighters had to cut through a chainlink fence to get to the abandoned home next to the burning building. Inside, they found a man asleep and evacuated him to safety.</p><p>Firefighters are investigating the cause,&nbsp;but O’Neal said he often sees transients entering the empty building.</p><p>&quot;Homeless people have been going in and out, and I’ve tried my best to keep them out, but it’s been hard,&quot; O’Neal said.</p><p>Throughout the night, people lined the streets, watching firefighters battle the blaze as the fire consumed the building.</p><p>&quot;Well, sad to see an old building going down,&quot; said Juan Crisostomo, a passerby. </p><p>No one was hurt in the fire. Fire investigators are working on figuring out the cause of the fire.</p></div>

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