Industrial Fire in Fresno County Leads to Bigger Problem

FRESNO, Calif. The warehouse is located in a Fresno county island. And it took firefighters more than an hour and a half to put out the flames. No one was hurt.

Action News reporter John-Thomas Kobos is there live with why CalFire said neighboring businesses are also at risk.

There are about a dozen or so businesses operating out of this old industrial area here in Fresno County.

When CalFire was putting out Monday night's fire they realized the pipes you see here above me were inadequate for extinguishing the fire or any future ones that may occur

Ernie and his girlfriend Dalane are homeless once again. Monday evening a fire tore through the old 10,000 square foot cotton warehouse they were temporarily living in.

"Where are you going to go from here," I asked him. "We don't know," he said. "Was your livelihood in here?" "Everything. We had everything in this thing. My computers. Everything."

"It was at the point where there was no action we could take to save any of it," said Chris Christopherson with CalFire.

Christopherson said when CalFire crews arrived they had trouble accessing water to extinguish the flames. "We had trouble with the fittings not being correct," he said.

Water pressure was an issue too. Christopherson said the building that burned and others in the area are breaking the law because they don't have updated sprinkler systems. The fire hydrants are also out of date.

"They need to put a better water system incase there's a fire too," said business owner Francisco Estrada.

Estrada and his father work several buildings over from where the fire occurred. They make beds and cabinets…all things that could burn up quickly.

"What about if our building is next? We could lose money here. And we barely make a living," said Estrada.

County investigators have called an emergency meeting with CalFire on Monday to survey the damage and figure out what can be done to make them safer.

"We don't want to shut businesses down. We want to get behind them and support them and get them to were they need to be," said district county supervisor Henry Perea's Chief of Staff Patricia Pinedo.

Last winter there was a similar fire that destroyed another abandoned building here on the same lot. We have tried contacting the property manager responsible for maintaining all these industrial buildings, he had no comment.

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