Two teens accused of arson and manslaughter after California fire leaves one firefighter dead and another missing

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One firefighter is dead and another is unaccounted for after battling a fire at the city library in Porterville, California.

Multiple fire agencies responded to the blaze shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday. More than 50 firefighters were involved.

Immediately after the fire started, two teens were seen running away from the library, said city police Chief Eric Kroutil.

The 13-year-olds were arrested and booked on charges of arson, manslaughter and conspiracy. No other information about the juveniles was released Wednesday.

Capt. Raymond Figueroa, 35, was killed. He started with the city in 2007, said Porterville Fire Chief David LaPere. Firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, is still unaccounted for. He joined the department in 2017.

The library’s books likely contributed to the intensity of the fire, officials said.

“Books, ordinary combustibles, they’re going to have an extensive fire loading,” Tulare County Fire Chief Charlie Norman told reporters. “But if it’s a typical library of this size and magnitude, there’s probably significant fuel loading in that building.”

The Porterville Public Library was built in 1953 and was not equipped with a sprinkler system, according to Tulare County fire investigator Joanne Bear.

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