FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of a deadly house fire in Fresno.
It happened just before noon on Wednesday at home on Chestnut Avenue, near Holland Avenue.
The Fresno Fire Department describes the intense flames as “unsurvivable conditions” that tragically took the life of a man who lived there.
After a flood of 9-1-1 calls, dozens of firefighters arrived to find flames and smoke and reports someone was trapped inside.
“They actually attempted to make entry and during that entry, one of our firefighters was burned, not bad but on the side of the face, that’s how much heat was in the building,” said Battalion Chief Tim Fulmer.
A near miss for another firefighter who stepped on the roof when it began to collapse, pulling his leg through. His crew quickly pulled him to safety.
“Very thankful it was quick action on all those firefighters on the roof to make sure there was no injury,” said Fresno Fire Department’s Shane Brown.
But inside the home, a tragic end to the search came when firefighters found a man’s body.
Neighbors say he was a kind older man who lived alone, often seen sitting outside or walking around the neighborhood.
“It’s devastating for them and our prayers go out to them,” said Michael Kain of 1-800-BoardUp.
Kain was Selma’s Fire chief for 33 years before he retired in 2018.
“It’s what we call a gut job, basically have to gut the whole thing out,” said Kain.
Since retiring, Kain has traded his work on the frontlines for helping families in the aftermath through his job at BoardUp.
“As a BoardUp director, I’m on the other side of that to help with victim assistance and helping families through the process when it happens,” explained Kain.
He hopes to offer families a sense of calm, on one of their worst days.
Fire investigators are still working to determine the cause, adding that it appeared the fire had been burning a while before the fire department was called.