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Fire erupts at Porterville Library leaving one firefighter dead, one unaccounted for

Fire at Porterville Library leaves one firefighter dead, another unaccounted for
Posted at 8:37 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 09:10:14-05

PORTERVILLE, Calif. — Crews will enter Porterville Library at first light Wednesday morning to search for a firefighter who is unaccounted for following a deadly blaze Tuesday.

Tulare County Fire officials confirming that a firefighter with the Porterville Fire Department was killed after crews worked to control the blaze Tuesday afternoon.

Joanne Bear with the Tulare County Fire Department said at 4:14 p.m. Porterville Fire Department was dispatched to the fire at the Porterville Library.

When crews arrived on scene they found smoke and fire coming from the building. A second alarm was initiated at 4:17 p.m. and additional units from Tulare County Fire Department, Tulare City Fire Department, Fresno County Fire, and Cal Fire arrived.

A total of 16 pieces of equipment were used to battle the blaze and 55 firefighters were on scene.

Fire Chief Charlie Norman with the Tulare County Fire Department said they were there to assist Porterville Fire Department however they can.

Norman said while they were battling the fire a Porterville Fire Department firefighter was fatally injured. Officials said next of kin is still being notified.

Officials did not release which department the missing firefighter works for.

Officials said the public library was built in 1953 and was in operation.

The Porterville City Police Department said it will be working alongside the fire crews to determine any potential criminal act that may have led to the fire.