Murder Charges for Teens in California Library Fire

Boys, 13, cannot be tried as adults

FILE – This combination of undated file photos provided by the Porterville, Calif., Fire Department shows firefighter Patrick Jones, left, and Capt. Raymond Figueroa. Murder charges were filed Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, against two 13-year-old boys suspected of starting a blaze that killed the two firefighters at a central California library.
(Porterville Fire Department via AP)

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Murder charges have been filed against two 13-year-old boys suspected of starting a blaze that killed two firefighters at a central California library.

Police said the boys were arrested after they were seen running from Porterville City Library shortly after flames erupted on the afternoon of Feb. 18.

The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office on Friday filed two counts of murder with special circumstances of multiple murders and arson, the Visalia Times Delta reported.

The boys denied the charges and remain in jail, the newspaper said. Their names were not released because they are minors. They are scheduled to return to juvenile court on March 11.

Firefighters Patrick Jones, 25, and Raymond Figueroa, 35, were killed as they battled the flames that gutted the library in the town about 50 miles (79 kilometers) north of Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley.

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The library was built in 1953 and did not have sprinklers, said Fire Capt. Joanne Bear.

It was not immediately known if the boys have attorneys who can speak on their behalf.

In California, children under 14 can’t be tried as adults, even if they are charged with serious and violent felonies, such as murder.

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Funeral Details courtesy of California Fire Foundation

The fire service and a grateful public will gather to honor two fallen brothers who gave their lives in the line of duty.

With full honors, a memorial service honoring Porterville Fire Captain Ray Figueroa and Porterville Firefighter Patrick Jones will be held this Friday, February 28th at the Porterville Church of the Nazarene in Porterville, CA.

Brothers Figueroa and Jones was killed while battling the City of Porterville Library Fire They were the first to arrive on scene and entered the building to conduct a primary search to ensure all civilians had exited.

All uniformed personnel and honor guards are encouraged to participate. Detailed information follows. PLEASE CHECK BACK OFTEN FOR UPDATED INFORMATION.

Memorial Information


DATE: Friday, February 28, 2020

LOCATION: Porterville Church of the Nazarene, 2005 W. Olive, Porterville, CA 93257. (MAP LINK HERE)

TIME: Service begins at 11:00am. 

Class A dress uniform requested.

Honor Guard Information

All departmental and local union honor guards are encouraged to participate in the memorial services of Brothers Figueroa and Jones.

Honor guard members should arrive by 7:00am for mandatory practice.

Honor guards from local government agencies wishing to participate in the service, please contact Ben Dominguez at 916.709.9069

For those wishing to send a card address it to:
Attn: Porterville Fire Department
298 N Main Street
Porterville, CA 93257

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