2 firefighters killed in Calif. library blaze
Porterville Fire Capt. Ramon Figueroa and Firefighter Patrick Jones were killed battling the blaze late Tuesday afternoon
Duty Death: Ramon Figueroa - [Porterville, California]
End of Service: 02/18/2020
By Laura French
Update Feb. 20, 2020 at 8:34 a.m. EST
The body of Porterville Firefighter Patrick Jones has been discovered in the library where firefighters battled a blaze late Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday.
Jones, who went missing during the early stages of the fire, had been unaccounted for as firefighters worked to fully control the blaze. The Porterville Fire Department announced the discovery of Jones' remains inside the building on Facebook late Wednesday night.
Porterville Fire Capt. Ramon Figueroa was also killed in the blaze on Tuesday. Two 13-year-old boys have been arrested and charged with arson and manslaughter in relation to the fire.
Update Feb. 19, 2020 at 9:12 p.m. PST
Officials have identified the Porterville firefighter who was killed as 35-year-old Capt. Ramon Figueroa, who had served with the department since 2007.
Porterville Fire Chief David LaPere said at a press conference Wednesday morning that Firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, remains unaccounted for as firefighters continue controlling flames at the city library, according to ABC 30.
Additionally, police officials announced the arrests of two 13-year-old boys in relation to the fire.
Porterville Police Chief Eric Kroutil said during the press conference that the boys have been charged with arson and manslaughter and that a full investigation is ongoing.
On Wednesday night, the Porterville Fire Department released additional details about Figueroa's career, sharing that he started his career with the Lindsay (California) Fire Department and later moved to the Porterville Fire Department, where he rose through the ranks from firefighter to engineer and ultimately captain.
A department Facebook post noted that Figueroa was known for his love of the job and mentoring his crew: "Over the last 3 years, Ray was part of the Fire Investigation Unit, and as with every assignment, Ray approached investigations with passion. Captain Figueroa was known for his saying 'KSA' - Knowledge, Skill, Ability. Training was a large part of Ray’s day-to-day job and joined the Porterville Fire training cadre, sharing his skills, knowledge and love of the job. When he came to work, his priorities showed, as he was also known for saying 'My Men, The Mission, Then Me.' Ray not only served the citizens and community in and around Porterville, he often responded to large wildland fires across California through his career."
LIVE UPDATE: Authorities provide updates on deadly fire at the Porterville city library. Developing story: https://abc30.com/5947494/Posted by ABC30 Action News on Wednesday, February 19, 2020
PORTERVILLE, Calif. — A California firefighter was killed and another remains unaccounted for after a blaze at a public library late Tuesday afternoon.
Neither firefighter has been publicly identified, according to USA TODAY. Tulare County Fire Chief Charlie Norman said both firefighters work for the city of Porterville.
Norman told reporters during a press conference that the large number of books in the building made battling the fire difficult.
“Typical(ly) a library of this size and magnitude has a significant fuel load,” Norman said.
The library was built in 1953 and was not equipped with sprinklers.
The fire was first reported around 4 p.m., and about 55 firefighters responded, according to KSBY.
Norman said first responders will enter the building to search for the missing firefighter when it is safe to do so.