When firefighters arrived at the scene, shortly after 5:15 Tuesday morning, the building was fully engulfed in flames. They said the building formally housed two businesses and four apartments and was slated for demolition.
The building was home to several homeless people and may have become a target of thieves. "This whole area has been vacant and has been fenced off with cyclone fencing. The fencing had been torn down and the doors had been forcibly breached, or opened, by individuals that were staying here or others that were stealing copper wire," said Chuck Tobias, Fresno Fire Department.
Investigators said the fire was started by a person -- because there were no utilities running to the building. However, the exact cause is still under investigation.