Two Porterville firefighters died Tuesday night as crews struggled to put out a massive fire at the Porterville library, according Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.
“Prayers for the Porterville City Fire Department,” Boudreaux posted on Facebook. “They have lost two brave men in a library fire this evening. The city of Porterville mourns their loss and we as a community grieve with them and their families. God bless them all.”
Porterville and Tulare County firefighters have been trying to knock down the flames, which has engulfed the two-story library since around 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.
It happened near Hockett Street and Thurman Avenue — less than a block from where the Porterville Fire Department is located — and while the library was open to the public
The identities of the firefighters killed were not immediately known.
Other fire crews, including from the Fresno County Fire Department, later arrived to provide assistance in the fire.
Smoke could be seen miles away coming out of the library, which was built in 1953 and for years has been a popular place for youths to visit
Captain Joanne Bear confirmed there were no sprinklers inside the library.
Neither the cause of the fire nor how the firefighters died were immediately known, and the fire remains under investigation
Just last month, Porterville’s City Council held a special joint meeting to discuss the possibility of opening a new library facility or renovating the current building