‘Staffing is definitely being tested’: Fresno Fire responds to fatal blaze, two-alarm fires

Local News

Three two-alarm fires over a 12-hour span this weekend left Fresno City Fire resources stretched thin.

Crews say one of those fires, a man died and a firefighter was injured.

Fire officials say the firefighter received injuries to the face, but was treated and released. He’s expected to be OK.


As for the man who died, officials say, sadly it’s the fourth death they’ve had this year.

John Harmann, a friend of the man who died, is left heartbroken over the sudden lost of his good friend of 29 years, saying he was a veteran and double amputee.

He really was quite a guy, very talented. He suffered a lot these last five years, he was a dialysis patient for 13 to 14 years, lost both of his legs, Harmann explained, visibly upset at the loss of his friend.

Harmann owned the home and back apartment, where he says his friend was inside when a fire broke out early Sunday morning, near College and Bremer avenues. Fire crews say it was a neighbor who called 911.

First units arrived and found a two-story detached garage apartment complex, at the back of a residential structure, heavily involved in fire, says Battalion Chief Brian Price with the Fresno Fire Department.

Firefighters say because of the extent of the blaze, they weren’t able to get inside right away.

By the time we actually made entry, we did actually discover there was a fatally as a result of this fire, he explained.

Crews are not releasing the name of the victim yet, but say there were multiple explosions during the blaze and as a result, one of their own was injured.

The depth of our staffing is definitely being tested, Price says.


And while wrapping things up there, call came in for another two-alarm fire near Peralta Way and Fresno Street in an apartment kitchen.

Fire crews say the cause was electrical, and created nearly $20,000 in damage, leaving residents, Celsa Ruiz and her family, without a place to live. She says her kitchen is totaled and that it’s not easy to find a place to live.


The third fire, that one happened just after midnight at a vacant commercial building at Fresno Street and Klette Avenue.

Fire officials say homeless activity was taking place inside the structure and believe that’s what led to the fire igniting.

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