Fires break out at vacant Fresno homes as temperatures drop

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As temperatures dip, it becomes increasingly more difficult for the local homeless population to find warmth. Fire officials say they're more likely to seek shelter in a vacant home or structure to start a fire.

"We do see an uptick in fires started inside the buildings there," said Jay Tick.

Two fires at a pair of vacant homes in southeast Fresno kept crews busy overnight. Firefighters believe both were started by homeless people in the area trying to stay warm.

Firefighters searched the structures but didn't find anyone. Officials say it is typical for this time of year, and only complicates strategies on how they approach service calls.

"It really drains resources and takes resources out of those areas, and we're drawing resources that are farther away," Tracy said.

Firefighters say this was not the first time they were called out to either home.

Both structures had been set before, including one on El Monte and First, just a little more than a week ago.

"Last time we were out here on the 17th for a little fire in the rear of the structure... it was set by homeless activity, so we have been out here before, it's nothing new to us," said Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Tim Fulmer.
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