TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – The first day of trial for two 15-year-old boys, both charged with two counts of murder and two counts of arson, after the Porterville Library was destroyed by a fire in February 2020.

On Wednesday, the teens sat near their attorneys with their families behind them, using a translator to listen to the trial.

Both the prosecutors and the defendant’s attorneys gave their opening statement, with witnesses reliving that fateful day.

“Screaming, ‘fire department, fire department. Fire extinguisher, fire extinguisher!’ And then more screaming,” said a first-hand witness.

A day almost two and half years ago to the date, remembered just as vividly by witnesses as yesterday.

“I had noted that there was some tomfoolery going on, but I just noted that and I thought tap on desk​, and they were gone because they scuddled out, but they were in a hurry out,” said the witness talking about what he heard and saw that day.

“Heard a lot of yelling and screaming, and at that time usually children are getting out of school and coming to the library so we thought at first it was just kids playing on the stairwell. When I looked the flames shot up to the ceiling and I saw them spread across and that’s when I told him it’s time to go,” said a woman who witnessed the fire.

In his opening statement, the attorney for the prosecution, John Sliney, summed up what county investigators say happened on February 18th, 2020.

“Porterville Fire Department responded to this fire, there were two who went in and those two firefighters didn’t make it out alive,” said Sliney.

Patrick Jones and Captain Ray Figueroa both lost their lives that day.

Ramon, Ray’s father, says the trial is bringing back memories, like the last time he spoke with his son.

“On that actual day, at 8 o’clock in the morning, he had called me and said, ‘hey Dad, let’s get breakfast tomorrow after I get off watch,’ and I told him, ‘okay we’ll get together,’ and that never happened,” said Figueroa.

Several witnesses were questioned by attorneys, asking if they recognized the boys in the courtroom and if they recognized the area where the fire started inside the library.

The 15-year-old boys face four criminal counts, two murder charges, and two arson charges.

“In the end analysis I think the court will find that the conduct the two minors engaged in was reckless and nowhere near malicious and willful,” said the teenagers’ Defense Attorney, Richard Martinez.

The trial will continue tomorrow at 9:30 am at the Juvenile Courthouse in Tulare County.

We tried speaking with the families of the teen boys, but they said no, and we are respecting their space at this time.