Police investigating renter of home where Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern was injured

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Police said the woman sublets to people like drug addicts, parolees and people with mental health problems - in order to turn a profit. (KFSN)

Fresno Police are investigating a woman --- who they say is affecting dozens of people through a subletting scheme. And now investigators are warning other homeowners to not get cheated.

It's been one year, since a wrong step on a rooftop, shocked people around the world.

"We had to literally sit here and watch what happened to that firefighter," said Central Fresno resident Kaili Triska.

Neighbor Triska remembers it like yesterday when Fire Captain Pete Dern nearly died in a fire.

Investigators would arrest Julia Harper for starting the blaze, a familiar face to the neighbors on this block. Triska say the suspect was one of dozens living inside the home.

"It was as a drug house. It was something the neighborhood knew the minute that they moved in that this is what it was turning into," said Triska.

But police believe it's the woman renting this home, that's responsible for the chaos. A woman we won't identify because she's technically not doing anything illegal.

"She rents the property from the owner sublets it to five or six individuals and does that repeatedly in various parts of the city," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Police said the woman sublets to people like drug addicts, parolees and people with mental health problems - in order to turn a profit. They've found at least five other homes in her name and many modified without the owner's permission. Police said it's so numerous people can live there. A scared neighbor in northwest Fresno said, at least, twelve people stay in the garage and other parts of a home down the street.

"There's been a lot of people coming and going, during the day, during the night," said the neighbor, who didn't want to be identified.

Police said they can't do much, besides fine the renter for 'calls for service.'

"Ultimately we're the ones getting called repeatedly to those locations to handle those calls and it causes a problem for the owner of the property. because now they're facing a potential fine," said Dyer.

A problem that the neighbors have to deal with, since many of the tenants don't stick around.

"There's so many people in and out of there it's hard to say who's permanent anyways," said Triska.

Chief Dyer said he's planning on talking to the district attorney to see if they can arrest the renter for any criminal charges.

Until then he said she will continue to profit off of legal loopholes.

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