Massive fire at southeast Fresno housing developing investigated as 'suspicious'

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An overnight fire in southeast Fresno is being called suspicious by investigators after crews found under-construction homes engulfed in flames when they arrived.

Nearby construction crews continued to lay foundation and swing hammers just hours after firefighters raced to douse the flames on a large blaze that completely destroyed a not yet fully built two-story home at the Lennar Homes Construction site on Kings Canyon and Fowler.

"The first arriving unit found five homes under construction with one of them in the center fully involved in fire," said Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Tony Escobedo.

Along with the two-story home, two adjacent structures also sustained damage.

"It looked like a fire tornado, just embers are falling everywhere. That was a little bit unnerving at the moment but we were able to control rather quickly and eliminate the threat," said Escobedo.

An investigation is underway but crew members said they smelled gasoline in the area and found some trash inside the houses but there was no clear evidence that anyone was inside.

"That leads us in the direction that this is an intentionally set fire. Our investigation team is going to determine that at a later time but right now it is deemed at least a suspicious and possibly an illegal fire," said Escobedo.

Action News reached out to Lennar Homes but they did not want to comment on the fire.
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