Officials rule arson as the cause of two fires in less than a day at abandoned Central Fresno apartment complex

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two fires at the same apartment complex in Central Fresno have been ruled to be arson.

That determination was made by Fresno Fire Department investigators, who also say the building is abandoned, but believe homeless people were staying inside.

No one was hurt, but crews found heavy smoke and flames coming from the attic of structure on McKinley and Normal around 7:30 am Monday.

On Sunday around 11:30 pm crews responded to a different part of the same complex for a mattress fire outside the building.

"There was a small fire in a different part of this building, it was a quick fire that was knocked down by a single crew. While this fire (Monday) was in an entirely separate section of the building," said Robert Castillo of the Fresno Fire Department.

According to officials, vacant structure fires in Fresno are up nearly 30% from last year.

26 firefighters were called to Monday's fire alone, that's a third of the department's staffing.

"It does tax our resources to have multiple fires in the same building over and over again, and that's what we typically see with a vacant structure," said Fresno Fire Department Deputy Chief Ted Semoniuous.

Officials say to minimize these type of fires, neighbors should report any suspicious activity around abandoned buildings.

"If you see loitering, if you see people who are squatting or anything like that, or unusual activity, report it," said Semoniuous.
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