Crews battle large fire at Fresno County warehouse

FRESNO, Calif.

The fire started around 2 p.m. in the area of Orange and Church avenues, just south of Downtown Fresno. The fire is being called an accident. Investigators say a man was cutting up an old truck with a torch, and sparks from that ignited the fire.

A 10,000-square-foot abandoned section of the warehouse collapsed because of the fire. Huge plumes of smoke could be seen for miles around the Fresno area. Firefighters used ladder trucks and hoses to douse the flames from overhead.

The warehouse is known to have homeless people staying inside. In this case, firefighters say the man who sparked the fire with a torch claims to have permission to be inside. Fire officials say they're skeptical of that claim considering this property is several acres in size and is mostly abandoned buildings. Crews will check with the property owner to see if that man had permission to be there.

During the firefight, fire crews from Fresno City and County were kept out of the building.

"It was actually fairly simple. It was already collapsed in when we got here. So basically just go in and surround the ground, and now it's mop up phase," said Terry Carter with the Fresno County Fire Department.

Since the fire was so big, firefighters called a second alarm, which means more crews responded to the scene. They say they've been called to the warehouses on this property for fires in the past.

The person who started the fire could be held financially liable for it if he didn't have permission to be there. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

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