House fire in southwest Fresno displaces two families. Firefighters search for missing person

Update: No one was found inside the house, a fire department spokesman said Tuesday afternoon.

A house fire in southwest Fresno displaced two families Monday night and crews were searching for a possible missing person, according to Fresno City Fire Battalion Chief Randy Reitz.

Reitz said the fire happened around 8:30 p.m. on South Teilman Avenue just north of West Whitesbridge Avenue.

Upon arrival, firefigthers found the rear section of the home fully engulfed.

“There was so much fire, it was hard to tell what we actually had,” Reitz said.

The occupants told firefighters they were in the process of cleaning the backyard when a fire broke out and got into the attic of the home. Reitz said investigators hadn’t determined what was the origin of the fire.

A family of four people and another family of two were in the home at the time but made it out safely.

Reitz said a person who was reported to be cleaning the backyard when the fire broke out is possibly still missing.

The fire did significant damage to the house and firefighters had to knock down the ceilings to get the fire out. A lot of debris made it challenging for firefighters to put out the fire.

“It’s really difficult for us because we have a garage that collapsed, so we’re having to look in and dig under the debris to make sure there isn’t the remains of someone there,” Reitz said.

Firefighters were able to save the house. The home is around 900 square feet with $20,000 to $30,000 in estimated damage.

PG&E reported both the electricity and gas were shut off in the home. The house shouldn’t have been occupied, Reitz said.

No neighboring houses were affected.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Marilyn Castaneda: 559-441-6087, @MarilynCast98