Two 13-year-old boys have been charged with murder after they were spotted fleeing a burning public library in California that claimed the lives of two firefighters
The blaze at the Porterville City Library Tuesday claimed the lives of Fire Captain Raymond Figueroa, 35, and firefighter Patrick Jones, 25.
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office on Friday filed two counts of murder with special circumstances of multiple murders and arson against the youths.
Two boys, ages 13, were charged with murder after a blaze (pictured) burned the public library in Porterville, California, leaving two firefighters dead on Tuesday
The youths were arrested after they were seen fleeing the seen of the fire, which started in a children’s section of the Porterville Public Library around 4:15pm on Tuesday
The blaze that burned the Porterville City Library Tuesday was blamed for the deaths of Fire Captain Raymond Figueroa (right), 35, and firefighter Patrick Jones (left), 25
Both teenagers have denied the charges and are jailed.
The names of the youths were not released because they are minors. They are scheduled to return to juvenile court on March 11.
Figueroa and Jones were killed as they battled the flames that gutted the library in Porterville, which is about 50 miles north of Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley.
Fire crews arrived about 4:15pm, shortly after the fire was called in by library staff who had noticed flames in the children’s section.
More than 50 firefighters from Cal Fire, Tulare County and Fresno County helped Porterville city fire crews control the deadly blaze.
The library, built in 1953, did not have sprinklers, said Fire Capt. Joanne Bear.
Porterville Police Chief Eric Kroutil said Wednesday the teenagers were arrested within hours after they were seen running away from the burning library.
More than 50 firefighters responded to the blaze that burned the public library in Porterville, California, on Tuesday. The library, built in 1953, did not have sprinklers
‘Our investigation led us to two 13-year-old Porterville residents who have been determined to have started this fire,’ Kroutil said.
Capt. Figueroa, who started his career with the department in 2007, was killed as he tackled the blaze on Tuesday and Firefighter Jones was missing until his body was located late Wednesday night.
Porterville Captain Raymond Figueroa, 35, who died in the fire that burned the city library on Tuesday had been with the fire department since 2007
Firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, went missing while fighting the massive blaze that burned the Porterville Library on Tuesday. His remains were found the next day
‘I’m not familiar with the building, but a library of this size and magnitude, there’s a significant fuel load in that building,’ said Tulare Co. Fire Chief Charlie Norman.
It was not immediately known if the boys have attorneys who can speak on their behalf.
Under California law, children under 14 cannot be tried as adults, even if they are charged with serious and violent felonies, such as murder.
‘There are significant limitarion to what we can reveal when it comes to juveniles and juvenile justice system, yet you deserve answers,’ Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said, in response to not disclosing more information about the youths after they were arrested in the deadly fire.
He asked members of the community mourning the loss of Figueroa and Jones, which he referred to as ‘Porterville’s finest, to bare with him as the case against the youths unfolds without more disclosure.
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