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2 children die in house fire in Fresno Tuesday morning, man in custody

KMPH – Fresno-Visalia logo KMPH – Fresno-Visalia 5/4/2022 Stephen Hawkins/Marie Edinger
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Two children died in a house fire Tuesday morning near Brawley and Dakota Avenues in Fresno.

The fire was reported around 6:30 a.m. on Robinson Ave.

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Caption: Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis and Police Chief Paco Balderrama give an update on the deadly house fire Tuesday morning. (FOX26)

When fire crews arrived they found flames coming from the house and learned two small children had died.

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama says a man and woman were also injured in the fire.

“There was a woman also inside the house, we believe the mother of the two children who was also engulfed in flames. At this time, she’s being treated at the hospital and she’s not doing very well,"  the Chief said. “The woman, she was able to make it outside the house, she was able to run across the street to a neighbor’s house where they assisted her to put her out of fire. The initial information was that she had to roll around on the ground to put herself out.”

Chief Balderrama says investigators believe a 29-year-old family member started the fire.

“We did take into custody an individual who was here at the location, based on his statements and based on the information, the evidence at the scene, we believe we have a strong case that we’re going to move forward with," said Chief Balderrama. “He was making general statements that led us to believe this was not an accident.”

Caption: Full Story: Two children die in a house fire in Fresno Tuesday morning.{p}{/p}

The man will be arrested on two counts of murder and felony arson. So far, the Fresno Police Department has not released his name.

The chief was not sure of the age or sex of the children but says he believes they are only 5-months-old and 18-months-old.

Caption: Deputy Fire Chief Ted Semonious provides an update on the deadly house fire. (FOX26)

Many people in the neighborhood came outside after smelling smoke and hearing sirens.

Carlos Flores says he’s babysat the children before.

“Me and my friends, we taught one of the kids to throw a ball before.”

He and several others told me they couldn’t believe something like this happened in such a quiet neighborhood, or to such a nice family.

“They’re kind, they’re always supportive. Anytime someone needed help, they’d always offer if they were able to,” said Florez. “Most of the people in our neighborhood are already planning to help them, giving something back to help them. I know a couple of the neighbors down my street are wanting to make some food for them.”

“In order to provide justice for this family, we’re going to do the best job possible to investigate this completely, thoroughly, and make a good case to bring them justice," said Chief Balderrama.

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