NewsCovering Kern County


Authorities provide additional details in fatal Porterville fire

Porterville Fire Procession
Porterville Fire Procession
Posted at 12:33 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 15:35:23-05

Porterville Fire Department officials said when crews first arrived on the scene of a fire at the Porterville Library on Tuesday, the priority was to make sure the building was cleared out.

Not knowing if anyone was still inside Captain Raymond Figueroa and firefighter Patrick Jones went inside the burning building hoping to clear it out. Moments later a mayday was signaled and efforts began to search for the two.

Figueroa was found and life-saving efforts were performed. He ultimately died at an area hospital.

The fire department's rapid intervention team was unable to locate the body of Jones. He wasn't found until about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

Thursday morning a procession followed his body from the Porterville Library to the Tulare County Coroner's Office.

Porterville Fire Department staff are on stand down until Friday morning to mourn.

There is the possibility that other agencies will come in to fill the void of Porterville crews over the weekend so firefighters can receive counseling or other services.

Two 13 year-olds have been taken into custody in connection with the fire. County officials saying they will be tried as juveniles.