1 person found dead in Big Creek house fire

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The Fresno County Fire Department said one person was found dead after a house fire in the remote Fresno County community of Big Creek early Thursday morning. (KFSN)

Neighbors say the homeowner is a retired U.S. Forest Service employee who lived there alone. They describe him as one of the nicest guys you could meet -- a man with no enemies.
A big fire in Big Creek prompted an investigation by Fresno County homicide detectives.

Neighbors in the remote community called in the fire just after 4 a.m. About 45 minutes later, firefighters made the gruesome discovery.

Before the sun came up, a bright light filled the Big Creek neighborhood. Neighbors started taking photos and video of a two-story home on fire as firefighters arrived to battle the flames.

"The responding units came in," said Cal-Fire battalion Chief Shawn Hogan. "It was totally involved. Power lines down a couple sides of the fire."

Within an hour, the fire was mostly under control. The house was leveled, but firefighters had protected everything around it. But that's when the scene took a turn.

"When they were mopping up the fire, where they go through to get the hot spots of the fire, they came across a body," Hogan said.

In stepped the Fresno County Sheriff's Office and its homicide detectives.

"We slowed everything down," said sheriff's Sgt. Edward Essegian. "We called out our investigators. We're really taking the scene kind of like an onion. We're taking it apart one layer at a time to determine what happened."

The body was too badly burned to identify.

Neighbors say the homeowner is a retired U.S. Forest Service employee who lived there alone. They describe him as one of the nicest guys you could meet -- a man with no enemies.

At this point the cause of the fire is unknown and there are no sure signs of arson, but right now you can see behind me investigators are on scene trying to determine the cause and the origin of the fire.

Just a few items survived the fire, including a gun safe, which firefighters opened with the jaws of life.

Coroners will perform an autopsy on the victim, but because of the extensive burns, they say it could take weeks to determine cause of death.




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firebody foundShaver LakeHuntington Lake
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