Bakersfield Fire reviewing deadly fire incident after dead body went unnoticed by firefighters

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Bakersfield Fire Department is reviewing their actions after a deadly fire in east Bakersfield last week. A dead body was found in the burned building more than 12 hours after the fire. 

BFD said crews responded to a single-family residential/converted garage structure fire on E. California Avenue near Inyo Street Thursday, November 16th.

Firefighters used forcible entry to help crews with an interior search of the structure once the fire had been extinguished.

Several windows and a door were boarded up upon arrival, along with no utilities to the structure.

Fire crews did not initially find a body in the abandoned building, but Friday morning around 8:30 the Solid Waste Department responded to the location to clean up some of the charred debris. 

That's when crews found the body. Solid Waste called the police and Bakersfield Police responded. 

They are now investigating the death as suspicious, but officials do believe it was in the building during the fire.

"To say that this is a rare occurrence is definitely an understatement, but we're definitely taking this very seriously," said John Frando, the public information officer for BFD. 

Frando said firefighters routinely check buildings on fire for anyone inside while battling the flames and then do a more thorough search once the fire is out.

"Often times we're actually looking under beds, in closets, a more thorough search than we can do while the fire is progressing."

Frando said crews did not find the body Thursday night because of the large amount of debris inside. 

The charred remains of shopping carts, a couch, bed and much more was still inside Tuesday.

The Bakersfield City Code Compliance said since 2006, there have been 27 cases against the building where the person died. Officials are currently in the process of working to have the building demolished.

BFD said they are reviewing everything that happened that night to figure out how they missed the body.

The identity of the person who died has not been released and the cause of death has not yet been determined.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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