TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – On the third day of the trial for the two teens accused of setting a fire at the Porterville Library in February 2020 that killed fire captain Ray Figueroa and firefighter Patrick Jones, the lead investigator for the case and both of the teens’ mothers took the stand and testified as witnesses. 

The Tulare County prosecutor showed the courtroom dozens of pictures from inside and outside of the Porterville library in the days immediately following the fire. Tulare County’s fire chief and fire investigator explained he and his team began investigating the fire the night of February 18th. As the prosecutor showed him pictures, he then explained in detail what they did to investigate both the cause and point of origin. 

“As you can see there’s a lot more charring, parts of the wall are actually missing,” Rosa said describing what the evidence showed. 

He described how char on wood, certain smoke stains, and other markings lead them to where the fire started. He also explained in detail why the fire didn’t have any electrical component. Eventually, he was shown a picture of lighter parts. The evidence showed the pieces were found near the children’s area. The same spot where earlier this week, multiple witnesses said they saw the fire start to spread. 

“With the evidence we found, lighters don’t just start fires by themselves, they have to be manually operated for a fire to start,” Rosa added. 

The defense then asked about the breathing equipment the firefighters wear, and Rosa explained that because of the conditions inside the fire, they ran out of oxygen very quickly. 

The mothers of both teens also testified, but recording was not permitted. The two mothers both spoke Spanish and needed a translator to communicate. They were asked questions by the prosecutor about if they taught their children right from wrong, and they both said yes.  The defense then arguing back that all teens make mistakes. 

Two teachers for the teens spoke too. One mentioned how one of the teens had special needs and was often inattentive in class. 

“To my recollection yes, he might have had behavioral issues in class,” the teacher added. 

The defense and the prosecutor are arguing over if the fire was started recklessly, or maliciously, not just if the teens were responsible at all.