A Firefighter Is Dead and Another Missing After 2 Teens Allegedly Start Blaze in California Library
Fire officials identified the firefighter killed as Capt. Raymond Figueroa. Firefighter Patrick Jones remains unaccounted for
Two 13-year-old boys have been arrested after police say they intentionally started a fire that claimed the life of a California firefighter.
On Tuesday, at around 4:14 p.m., the Porterville Fire Department received a call about a massive fire that erupted at the Porterville Library, a spokesperson for the PFD tells PEOPLE.
Fire Captain Raymond Figueroa, 35, and Firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, initially responded to the scene, which was located adjacent to the fire department.
Figueroa was killed while fighting the blaze and Jones remains unaccounted for, PFD says.
PFD says the large number of books in the library — built in 1953 —contributed to it being a large fire.
The flames engulfed the entire two-story structure, resulting in the collapse of the ceiling.
The library was also not equipped with a sprinkler system, making the flames all the more challenging to contain.
At the time of the incident, the library was open to the public and visitors were evacuated by library staff members and fire personnel.
No other injuries or deaths have been reported.
Immediately after the fire started, the Porterville Police Department received a tip about two “suspicious” young boys running away from the scene, Porterville Police revealed in a statement shared on Facebook.
Police later identified the 13-year-old boys, who are residents of the area, and determined they started the blaze.
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They were booked late last night into the Tulare County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of manslaughter, arson and conspiracy.
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At this time, the investigation is ongoing and emergency responders remained on the scene through Wednesday morning.
Cal Fire, Tulare County and Fresno County Fire also responded to the scene.
Porterville Fire Department has paid tribute to the late captain on Facebook, explaining that Figueroa started his career with Porterville City in 2007. Jones joined the department in 2017.
Anyone who wants to support the families of Figueroa and Jones can donate funds to the Tulare County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.