The Porterville Fire Department and the community are mourning the loss of two firefighters that were killed in a massive fire at the Porterville city library on Tuesday afternoon.
In a press conference Thursday morning, fire officials said after crews arrived on Tuesday, they were unable to confirm if everyone was out of the building, Fire Capt. Raymond Figueroa, 35, and firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, went inside to search.
Capt. Joanne Bear of the Tulare County Fire Department said a short time later a "mayday" was called over the radio by the firefighters.
Capt. Figueroa died after being rushed to a local hospital.
Jones was unaccounted for until late Wednesday night when crews found his remains after a long and challenging search.
A procession escorted Jones' body to the Tulare County Coroner's Office Tulare early Thursday morning. The motorcade included firefighters and law enforcement from across the Valley.
KFSN-TV ABC 30 Frenso/Visalia
As crews dig through charred debris, a community is mourning the loss of a hero.
"It doesn't feel real," says Saidee Espinoza, Porterville Fire Capt. Raymond Figueroa's sister. "It doesn't."
Just yards from where his brother took his final breath, Zach Figueroa and his fiance, Saidee, paid tribute to the fallen fire captain.
"He was not just my hero, he was everybody else's hero," Zach said. "To the city of Porterville, to the city of Delano, my family, his friends. "He was everyone's hero."
"He's an amazing man," Espinoza said. "Such an amazing man and an amazing big brother." Captain Figueroa's former classmates from Delano High School drove from Southern California.
They didn't want to speak on camera, but say the father of two was a staple of the community and will be geatly missed.
While a memorial continued to grow outside of the firehouse adjacent to the library, urban search and rescue teams spent the day extinguishing hot spots and working to gain access to the building's interior.
KFSN-TV ABC 30 Frenso/Visalia
Emergency crews rescued a paraglider after he became trapped in power lines near the Yuba County Airport.
Just after 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Yuba County Sheriff's Office says they got a call about a paraglider who had crashed on Sky Harbor Drive near Arboga Road.
The paraglider was struggling to land in the area when he became entangled in nearby power lines, according to the sheriff's office.
Fire officials say the trapped man was with another paraglider before he hit the wires. Jimmy Comstock, who lives feet away, said he saw both before they were separated.
“I seen two of them coming. And one went that way and the other come over the trees, dipped down in the road then tried to get out of the road and then hit the wires,” Comstock told FOX40.
Officials say the paraglider who crashed was conscious, alert and talking to emergency personnel when they arrived. It did not appear he sustained any major injuries.
KTXL-TV FOX 40 Sacramento
A federal judge sharply criticized PG&E at a hearing in San Francisco on Wednesday, saying that the utility had fallen "far behind" in complying with its wildfire mitigation plan.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup spoke during a hearing on whether he should order PG&E to hire and train its own crew of tree trimmers in addition to using contractors to remove trees that could spark fires by falling on electrical lines.
The judge is also considering a second possible order that would restrict bonuses for supervisors until PG&E complies with the plan.
Alsup took both issues under submission and will rule at a later date after receiving more information from PG&E.
Any orders issued by the judge would be new conditions of its probation from criminal pipeline safety convictions stemming from the fatal explosion of a natural gas pipeline in San Bruno in 2010.
San Anselmo-Fairfax Patch
Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby is asking voters to pass Measure FD, a parcel tax he says is necessary to fund his department for the future, adding paramedics, improving the 911 system, upgrading firefighting equipment, combating devastating wildfires and keeping up with substantial increases in medical calls for service.
The measure, which requires a two-thirds vote for approval, is on the ballot in unincorporated areas and 56 of the 58 cities served by Osby’s department under the Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County. The measure would levy a parcel tax of 6 cents per square foot on residential and commercial buildings, with a cap of 100,000-square-feet. A homeowner would pay about an extra $90 a year on a property tax bill, Osby said. Low-income seniors are exempt.
Long Beach Press-Telegram - Metered Site
It's one of the driest Februarys on record in Northern California and fire crews are working to clear brush ahead of the 2020 wildfire season.
But it's not just humans working to protect communities. Goats and sheep have taken over an open space in Rocklin's Whitney Ranch doing what they do best — eating. "The goats and sheep come out and they eat down the grass and the weeds, so they reduce the fire fuels," said Corrine Heisler, the city of Rocklin's Environmental Services Specialist. "That reduces the fire risk potential in the city."
Heisler said the animals are also gaining a fan following. For nearly eight years, the city has used the grazing program to help reduce fire risk. The animals usually start in early spring and work through the summer, Heisler said.
KXTV ABC 10 Sacramento