Vacant house fires threatening Fresno neighborhoods

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Vacant house fires are a growing problem in the City of Fresno. Fire crews were called to their 13th of the year.

Early Wednesday morning, fire crews were called to Joyce Drive where an abandoned home went up in flames and spread to the home next door. It was the second time, in the last 30 days, they put out a fire at the vacant property.

Fresno Fire has responded to 13 vacant house fires this year alone. It may be less than this time last year but it makes up 62% of the fires they respond to. "It's astronomical compared to other cities at this point our resources are taxed our firefighters are taxed," Battalion Chief Tim Fulner said.

He adds over the last two weeks they've seen an increase in fire activity, "having one working fire per day; that counts for only fires we've been on scene for 30 minutes or more."

Fulner went on to say vacant properties, whether residential or commercial, act as a harbor for illegal activity. So it's best to report any vacant homes in your neighborhood so code enforcement can check on any potential hazards, "if you're taking care of your residence and the house next door is an abandoned structure that homeless and criminal activity is happening in, its only a matter of time before it affects your property."
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