A central Fresno home that was apparently occupied by squatters became engulfed in flames Tuesday night, threatening a nearby apartment and prompting residents to flee, Fresno fire officials said.
The two-alarm fire was reported about 8:22 p.m. at a vacant single-story home occupied with three people on 2326 E. Thomas Ave., just west of Fresno Street, fire battalion chief Tony Escobedo said.
Flames were so high they threatened apartments next to the home, Escobedo said. Apartment residents had to scramble to get out of the way.
Efforts to contain the fire were hindered by iron bars on the doors and windows and downed power lines on the south side of the house, Escobedo said. Fire officials later said one firefighter was injured and was being treated at Community Regional Medical Center.
A witness told firefighters that three occupants were in the home before she left it, he said. She said they were using candles for light and that the home was full of trash. Fire crews did not find anyone during a search of the home.
A total of 31 firefighters battled the flames. The cause of the fire is under investigation.