REEDLEY – Two abandoned buildings just outside of Reedley were recently consumed by a fire; the cause is yet to be determined.
Just after 6:30 a.m. on July 11, a total of 15 firefighters from four agencies responded to a fire at 16630 E. South Avenue in Reedley. According to the Fresno County Fire Department (FCFD), the fire began in an abandoned metal structure and eventually jumped to an adjacent wooden structure, eventually consuming both buildings.
Seth Brown, FCFD public information officer, said his department received a call just after 6:30 a.m. from the owner of an orchard across E. South Avenue. The site of the fire was roughly 1,000 feet from the intersection of S. Lac Jac Avenue and E. South Avenue. Brown said six fire engines responded. Crews were able to contain the fire by 8 a.m. He said crews from Fresno County, Cal Fire, Reedley and Orange Cove assisted in dousing the blaze.
According to Brown, the fire crews had two main safety concerns. A power pole with a transformer was located directly across the street from the fire. The other safety concern was the railroad tracks that run diagonally adjacent to the property. Brown said the tracks are rarely used but the railroad owners were contacted to ensure no trains would be traveling on tracks. Brown added that another concern was low water pressure but the crews were able to knock down the fire using engine hoses.
No one was injured in the fire and an investigation into the cause is underway.
The owner of the orchard who called in the fire, and who asked not to be identified, said the two buildings have been abandoned for some time. He said six months ago, Fresno Sheriff Office deputies arrived at the location, but he did not know why.
“I’m thinking they were looking for drugs,” the neighbor said. He also said in recent months, he witnessed individuals stealing metal siding from the one structure. He also noticed that homeless individuals were squatting on the premises.
As of this writing, the Fresno Sheriff’s Office has not confirmed that deputies had conducted a prior investigation of the location.