Blighted homes keeping Fresno firefighters busy

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Fresno State police are spending more time patrolling university parking lots after a rash of catalytic converter thefts. (KFSN)

For Fresno Firefighters tackling at least one fire a day isn't unusual, but a growing number of those blazes are happening at abandoned properties.

It's part of a larger issue of blight in the city.

"We had some inclement weather come through which might be contributing to residents seeking shelter and going to places hidden from public view," said Fresno Fire Department Battalion Chief Lawrence French.

In the past three days, three neglected homes and apartments went up in flames.

Near Olive and First Avenues in Fresno, the property reignited after burning up three weeks ago. The burn victim crews rescued there is now a person of interest.

"Whatever started the fire the first time is reoccurring," French said. "And in the case of our personnel re-entering the structures, the structure is more compromised."

The sight was similar at Floradora and Maple Avenues, an old single-story apartment complex destroyed by flames. And, finally, a fenced off property near Tulare and Willow Avenues was nearly leveled Friday morning.

"All parts of our community service systems have to work together and we're going to have to continue to work together because I don't think we're going to see a reduction in this problem in the near future," French said.

Investigators don't yet know what caused these fires, but they do know there was no electricity at any of the abandoned properties.
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