Police investigate death in house fire, say it's suspicious

The victim is a woman in her 50s

FRESNO, Calif. - Developing in Fresno, a deadly house fire at East Peralta and North Wishon is now called suspicious by Fresno Police. Authorities say all bases are being covered and neighbors are still shocked at what has unfolded.

A tragic scene on East Peralta after a fire inside a home left one woman dead. Neighbors say they tried to help hose down the burning house before crews arrived around three this afternoon.

"I immediately ran out to the spicket and grabbed the garden hose and tried to put the fire out from the front door," said Scott DeGroot.

DeGroot's mother says fear came over her when she saw firefighters try to rescue the victim who she calls a close friend of 17 years. Fighting tears, Linda Johnson says she hoped her friend wasn't in the burning home.

"I was hoping she wasn't and I went over to her mom's and told her that Beth wasn't inside but then I came back and found out she was," said Johnson.

Police say the victim is a woman in her 50s as fire crews left the scene. Caution tape went up as authorities ruled the death suspicious.

"Things aren't always as they seem so we won't know until the investigation is completed at least until where an autopsy is completed and a coroner has come to the decision on a cause of death," said Lieutenant Carl McKnight.

Johnson says she saw her old friend just a few days ago and wants her to know how much she cared for her.

"I love her. I love her with all my heart and I always will," said Johnson.

An arson investigator evaluated the scene, the street violence detectives are also on the case and the Crime Scene Bureau is gathering photo evidence as well.


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