Elderly man killed in Southeast Fresno fire

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The fire left a pile of charred ashes, a massive hole in the center of the home and heartbreak for the family of Joe Aguilar.

Tuesday as they sifted for anything that is still salvageable, fire and homicide investigators showed up to collect evidence and talk to survivors.

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Fresno Deputy Fire Marshall, Don Macalpine said, "There were several family members involved - there was one juvenile that was at the residence at the time."

Investigators say it took fire crews just three minutes to get to the Southeast Fresno home after getting the call of smoke and flames around 10:30 Monday night.

Lupe Aguilar made it out with her 11-year-old grandson.

Crews at the scene said the fire began in the living room and it is likely the fire was accidentally started by someone in the home.

Neighbors said they were the first on scene and made it to a back door, only to open it and come face to face with flames.

After firefighters discovered Joe was still inside, stuck in a bedroom -- it took several minutes to get him out because of the bars over the windows.
Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Randy Reitz said, "From the rear bedroom it took five to six minutes I'm guessing to get him extricated."

Neighbors are not sure why Joe never responded to his families calls. It is possible he was asleep at the time the fire broke out.

Investigators are not saying much about the fire's cause, in part because of the emotional state of the victim's family members. Currently, it remains unclear if the 1500 square foot home had smoke detectors.

"We have different hearsay from different historians and we are still interviewing crews for may have been or not been sounding upon their arrival," said Reitz.

Three of the family dogs made it out safely. One firefighter received minor injuries while battling the flames.
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