Tenants displaced, fate of historic building unknown after five-alarm fire in central Fresno

Jessica Harrington Image
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
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At the historic Osage apartment building Monday morning, fire alarms were still going off and water was still being pumped out of the basement.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At the historic Osage apartment building Monday morning, fire alarms were still going off and water was still being pumped out of the basement.

A look from SkyView30 shows a portion of the roof is now missing.

Saturday night, a five-alarm fire sent flames into the sky.

Fire crews rushed in to rescue people who were trapped. Two people were seriously injured and remain hospitalized.

Several pets were also rescued as the fire forced dozens of tenants to evacuate in the middle of the night.

Officials say the fire likely sparked in the basement and quickly spread through a trash chute, which runs all the way up into the attic.

"The only reason I woke up is because I heard people screaming," said tenant Cia Mislang.

We talked to her the morning following the fire.

She said dozens of people live inside the approximately 30-unit building.

'There's like two people, there's families, there's kids, and it's sad because I never realized there were so many kids that lived here, and they were out in the streets last night nowhere to go," Mislang said.

The Red Cross was called out to assist and set up an emergency shelter where five people stayed Saturday night.

They've now been placed into local motels.

The organization says it's working with the tenants to connect them with resources.

"We're providing financial assistance that can get them in a hotel to get them, maybe items that they need for if they have children or pets," said Taylor Poisall with the American Red Cross.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer says the building was secured Monday and no one will be allowed to enter except inspectors.

It will go through a series of inspections over the next week to determine if tenants will be able to collect their belongings and if the building can be restored.

"It is our hope that that building can be restored and that we can reoccupy it, especially today when we're in the midst of a housing crisis," Dyer said.

The property management company for the Osage Apartments did not provide a comment to Action News.

But Dyer says the company has many rental properties in Fresno and they were hopeful tenants would be able to fill vacancies at other locations.

If the building can be restored, city officials say it will require multiple updates.

That could take up to two years to complete.