FRESNO, California (KFSN) --Investigators are working to determine how a fire started at a home in west-central Fresno, but they believe squatters may be to blame.
Crews had to deal with large flames and collapsing walls as they worked to contain the fire at a home on Valentine and Olive avenues. Investigators say there was already structural damage and they could see flames shooting out of the roof when they arrived.
Witnesses say they saw several people, possibly transients, run out of the home when the fire started.
"There's a fair percentage of them that involve houses that are abandoned. And there is an ongoing issue with these houses catching fire -- and obviously we're going to have our investigators look at this and... figure out the source of the fire. But the power to this building had been shut down and the gas to it has also been shut down. So this is... limited options for how it started," said Bat. Chief Bob Van Tassell, Fresno Fire Dept.
Firefighters stayed on the scene for at least an hour to make sure the fire didn't spread to any nearby homes.