VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Visalia Fire Department said fire crews had to conduct fire operations cautiously after an electrical panel was tampered with prior to their arrival.

Fire crews responded around 10:30 p.m. Thursday night to the 1800 block of West Lark Avenue.

When fire crews arrived they reported no fire or smoke showing from the exterior and the occupants had evacuated. 

Crews say in the interior there was a light haze of smoke and then an area in the attic was discovered to have a high heat signature after utilizing a thermal imaging camera. 

After pulling the ceiling down near that area, extinguishing a small fire and smoldering insulation material. Authorities say due to the outside electrical panel being tampered with prior to the fire crew’s arrival and not being able to secure it, crews had to conduct fire operations cautiously from inside the house. 

The cause of the fire was determined to be electrical in nature and is under investigation, the fire originated in the attic space of the residence.