FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – Two families were without their homes Monday night after a three-alarm fire ripped through a northwest Fresno neighborhood.
It happened in the area of Teilman and Locust.
Fire investigators are still looking into the cause but said it started at one house and spread to the attic of a two-story house next door.
“It just took my breath away, I just immediately, I couldn’t breathe,” Stacey Swartout said after watching her childhood home go up in flames.
Swartout’s parents were still living in the house they bought nearly 4 decades ago, where she and her sister were raised.
“It’s like your whole history passes through you in a minute and I just burst into tears there’s just, there’s no words to explain just kind of watching your life go up in flames,” she said.
Fresno Fire crews got the call of a house on fire just before 5 p.m. and prior to arriving they learned it had spread to a second home.
“The crews that arrived initially were very overwhelmed. We had two very large houses basically one fully involved the other had the attic fully involved,” Tim Fulmer a battalion chief said.
Medical aid calls were suspended until 50 firefighters with 19 units were able to gain control.
No one was seriously hurt, but a crew member was treated for a heat-related injury.
State Assemblyman Jim Patterson said he’s lived just doors down for nearly 45 years and commended the first responders for their actions.
“It was something to see this operation up close. I mean they came in quickly, they were up with the high ladder, they started knocking it down, there was a precision approach by the police on either end of the street. I’m telling you, I am so proud of these people and so grateful,” he said.
Swartout said crews were able to pull some keepsakes to safety and is very thankful her parents are safe.
“We can rebuild. We can’t get our families back. So at least we have each other,” she said.
There is not yet an estimate on the cost of the damages.