Flames tear through Northeast Fresno home, family make it out safely

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- UPDATE: Fire officials say the fire started in the recycle bin on the side of the house, spread to the fence and then the house.
As flames tore through a Northeast Fresno home, neighbors gave thanks for one thing: the family of four living inside was able to get out unharmed.

"Homes can be replaced, but they have two little kids who we see all the time, but we were just praying that the kids were fine," said next-door neighbor, Ali Nekumanesh.

He said he was leaving to meet his family at a restaurant when he saw the unimaginable.

"Suddenly we noticed this smoke, and there were flames everywhere," he said.

According to Fresno fire chief Kerri Donis, flames broke out just after 6 p.m. Monday. Upon arrival crews quickly called for a third alarm, making it the second three-alarm fire in the last seven days.

"Crews saw fire on the fence looks like that fire got into the attic and then ran the attic space," Donis said.

More than 40 firefighters from Fresno city, county and Clovis fire departments worked to keep the fire from spreading to nearby homes.

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"We went into defensive mode as we realized we could not stop this fire it was expanding too quickly," Donis said.

As ladder crews attacked the flames from above, firefighters below worked to gain access to the fire through the ground level windows.

Firefighters weren't able to save the 3,400 square foot home, but the neighborhood is coming together to make sure the family knows they're not alone.

"During these times it's good that people have risen to the occasion of offering a helping hand to these folks because they would do the same," Nekumanesh said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Fire crews are reminding families to have an evacuation plan.
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