PORTERVILLE, Calif. - Two firefighters died after a massive fire ripped through a library in the small town of Porterville, California.
According to the Porterville Police Department the fire was intentionally set by two 13-year-old Porterville residents. Both teenagers have been arrested and booked into the Tulare County Juvenile Detention facility on charges of arson, manslaughter and conspiracy.
Captain Ray Figueroa
The city has identified the firefighter who was killed as 35-year-old Fire Captain Raymond Figueroa. Captain Figueroa started his career with Porterville City in 2007.
According to the fire department, 25-year-old firefighter Patrick Jones went missing during the fire fight. His body was eventually found Wednesday night by search teams. Jones started his career with Porterville City Fire Department in 2017.
Firefighter Patrick Jones
The library built in 1953, is said to be a historic landmark... with no sprinklers.
The fire was reported at about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday at the library in Porterville, 50 miles north of Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley, fire officials said.
Staff called 911 when they noticed flames in the children’s section of the library, which has about 77,000 books, city librarian Vikki Cervantes told the Visalia Times Delta. Flames shot through the library’s roof, which later collapsed. The library is located about a block from the local fire department. The first arriving firefighters quickly called for more assistance, officials said.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department sent a team to Porterville to help assist in the search for Jones.
According to Firefighter specialist Sean Ferguson with LA County the department will be sending one battalion chief who will act as an agency representative, one USAR Human Remains Search Dog, named Phenway and his handler Captain Jason Vasquez.
Captain Vasquez and Phenway have traveled throughout the world to assist in the searches for human remains such as the 2018 Camp Fire, 2017 Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Nepal in 2015 for the earthquake, New Zealand in 2011 for the earthquake, and so many other places.
The LA County Fire Department has 15 specially trained search dogs, 12 are considered Live Human Scent dogs and three are classified as Human Remains Search Dogs, Ferguson said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report