Woman arrested for deadly fire inside concrete drainage enclosure in NW Fresno, officials say

While the cause of the fire was initially undetermined, a follow-up investigation determined it to be incendiary.

Nic Garcia Image
Thursday, September 7, 2023

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A woman has been arrested in connection to a deadly fire in northwest Fresno earlier this year.

Police took 37-year-old Felicia Quiroz into custody for the fire in April that killed 59-year-old Eric W. Bennett.

"He is our brother, he is the uncle of our nieces and nephews, he is the son of our parents, he is the father of a son," said Bennet's sister, Kim Uriarte.

His family says he was a barber who lost his job and his housing during the pandemic.

Fire investigators say Bennett was unhoused and using the culvert for shelter.

"This is one we just didn't have a very settled feeling about. Through their hard work and dedication, we were able to put a case together," said Fresno Fire Deputy Jay Tracy.

The culvert has since been covered to prevent a similar tragedy.

Investigators determined it was arson and worked with the Fresno Police Department to interview people who were there when the fire started.

Investigators say Code Enforcement surveillance cameras captured the moment they say Felicia Quiroz used a lighter to start the fire.

She was arrested this week and faces one count of murder and one count of arson.

"I want to thank God for giving the strength and the determination to this wonderful team of investigators," said Uriarte.

Through their grief, Bennett's family says they're grateful for this step closer to justice.

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