Woman found dead inside burned Fresno house

The Fresno BeeApril 28, 2014 

A woman was found dead inside a house that caught fire Sunday night in southwest Fresno near Fresno Chandler Executive Airport.

The fire, reported about 10:30 p.m. on West Myers Avenue, was well-involved when firefighters arrived, said Battalion Chief Tony Escobedo with the Fresno Fire Department. After extinguishing the blaze, the body of a woman, reported to be in her 30s, was found in the living room of the home, Escobedo said. The woman has not been identified.

Fresno Fire Department spokesman Koby Johns said the Fresno County Coroner's Office determined that smoke inhalation is the cause of death. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

It was reported there were no working smoke detectors in the house. Escobedo said another adult woman reportedly had been at the house before the fire started and left to make a phone call. When she returned, she found the home on fire.

There were 29 firefighters on scene and the fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes, Escobedo said.

Firefighters arrived within five minutes, Johns said. The blaze caused $75,000 in damages, he said.

It was the second fatal fire this year in Fresno. A person died in a fire Jan. 13 at Parkland Hotel, west of Highway 99.

“Roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms,” Johns said. “We would like to remind the public that smoke alarms and batteries can be picked up for free at any Fresno city fire station and should be placed inside each sleeping area, and in the hallways.”

Sunday’s fire was the 284th structure fire this year, he said.

“We have seen an increase in fire activity over the past few weeks,” Johns said. “In the last three weeks we have responded to 71 structure fires.”

Of those, 28 were “working” structure fires, which means a full alarm was issued and at least two fire companies stayed at the fire for more than 30 minutes, Johns said.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386, cgeorge@fresnobee.com or @CarmenGeorge on Twitter.

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