A charred human body was found in a burned barn shortly after midnight Sunday in the 44000 block of Sand Creek Road in Squaw Valley, Fresno County sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said.
Burned animal remains were also found in the barn, which had been converted into a living space.
A woman believed to live in the barn was heard inside it around 7 p.m. Saturday. The body found by firefighters may be that of the woman, who remained missing Sunday night, Botti said.
The missing woman, Amee Nichols, about 55, was described as weighing 120 pounds, standing 5-feet-7-inches tall and having blond hair and blue eyes.
Sheriff and coroner personnel are attempting to identify the remains and cause of death, Botti said.
Multiple explosions were heard as the fire started. A light-colored SUV is believed to have stopped to assist at the outset of the fire, but the SUV and its occupants left the scene before firefighters arrived. Investigators would like to speak to the occupants to hear their observations of the fire.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office at (559) 600-3111 or detective Jose Diaz at (559) 600-8206.