Downtown Fresno Fire: Fire Hydrants Near Building Did Not Work

A huge fire in Downtown Fresno destroyed an abandoned warehouse. The fire happened in an industrial area at the corner of Orange Avenue and Church Avenue in an old cotton mill.

The fire was huge and people could see it from miles away. However, when firefighters went to hook up hoses to the fire hydrants there was a problem.

"It's a problem in the sense that we have to do a lot of extra work and put down a few hundred feet of large diameter hose," says Fresno County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Chris Bump.

The problem with the fire hydrants near the warehouse is they were empty. Battalion Chief Bump says it's because the property is abandoned and it's up to the owner to make sure the hydrants are full.

"Actually the city water grid is fine and the hydrants that we normally use in the fire department aren't a problem," adds Bump.

This isn't the first fire at the old Anderson-Clayton cotton mill. Firefighters say they've put out several fires here over the years because of homeless starting warming fires, arson, and people illegally working in the building.

"It's definitely a location that's a frequent flier for us," says the Battalion Chief.

Investigators say they know how this fire started. Firefighters tell KMPH Fox 26 News a man was working in the warehouse dismantling a truck. Somehow the fire started and grew quickly.

"There were a lot of combustibles and a lot of material to put up a lot of black smoke, but really from our perspective it looked more impressive than it actually was," adds Battalion Chief Bump.

The Fire Department is still trying to figure out if the guy who started the fire rented space in the warehouse or if he was trespassing.