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Fire erupts at Porterville Library leaving one firefighter dead, one unaccounted for

Posted at 3:55 AM, Feb 19, 2020

PORTERVILLE, Calif. — A fire at the Porterville Library Tuesday evening left one firefighter unaccounted for and another dead.

Joanne Bear with the Tulare County Fire Department said at 4:14 p.m. Porterville Fire Department was dispatched to the fire at the Porterville Library.

When crews arrived on scene they found smoke and fire coming from the building. A second alarm was initiated at 4:17 p.m. and additional units from Tulare County Fire Department, Tulare City Fire Department, Fresno County Fire, and Cal Fire arrived.

A total of 16 pieces of equipment were used to battle the blaze and 55 firefighters were on scene.

Fire Chief Charlie Norman with the Tulare County Fire Department said they were there to assist Porterville Fire Department however they can.
Norman said while they were battling the fire a Porterville Fire Department firefighter was fatally injured. Officials said next of kin is still being notified.

Chief Norman also said one additional firefighter remains unaccounted for at this time. He said when it is safe to operate, fire crews will get back into the building and search for the firefighter.
Officials did not release which department the missing firefighter works for.

Officials said the public library was built in 1953 and was in operation.

The Porterville City Police Department said it will be working alongside the fire crews to determine any potential criminal act that may have led to the fire.