FRESNO, California (KSEE) – An Eyewitness News investigation lead to huge changes in the city after a man died in a deadly fire at a mobile home park in north Fresno.
Fresno City Council unanimously approved an ordinance for the city to take over jurisdiction of all 26 mobile home parks in Fresno, including Trails End Mobile Home Park where a man died in a horrific fire back at the end of April.
The state currently oversees the parks – and will have the final say on whether or not the jurisdiction will be switched to the city.
On April 29th, two trailers at the Trails End Mobile Home Park in North Fresno went up in flames.
56-year-old Ronald Richardson rushed that night to save his friend Susan Dahlstrom and five others, but never escaped himself.
“I want everyone to know that Ron Richardson is a hero and I’ll tell you what,” said Dahlstorm. ” He saved everyone’s life but his own.”
Richardson died in the inferno and another person was sent to the hospital with severe burns due to the blaze.
That night while covering the fire, our station located evidence that sparked an investigation by local officials: a photo that showed that the park had been operating with a suspended permit for months.
“It makes me sick that someone who owned that property, knowing it was unsafe, would leave it like that,” said Richardson’s aunt, Sandy Griggs.
Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld and Mayor Jerry Dyer were the driving force behind the new ordinance.
“We will enforce laws that are broken and violated and I think that we want to obviously avoid the tragedy that occurred here,” said Bredefeld.
“We have the resources to make that happen,” said Dyer. “And the expertise to be able to enforce and ultimately it is our responsibility for the safety of residents in our city.”
Fresno-area State Assemblyman Jim Patterson is working to get funding from the state to help with the change in jurisdiction.