At 4:16 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2020, Captain Figueroa and Firefighter Jones were dispatched along with other Porterville Fire Department units to a report of a structure fire in the Porterville Public Library. Captain Figueroa led a crew of 3 assigned to Engine 71.
At 4:16 p.m., Engine 71 was first on-scene and Captain Figueroa reported heavy smoke conditions. Engine 71 was directed to initiate a fire attack by the on-scene command officer. While preparing to initiate fire attack, Captain Figueroa received information from a police officer that a physically handicapped person was trapped on the second floor.
At 4:19 p.m., Captain Figueroa and Firefighter Jones entered the library without a hoseline or a tag line to initiate a search.
At 4:32 p.m., Captain Figueroa initiated a Mayday, he stated that he and Firefighter Jones were on the upper level, they were low on air, looking for the stairwell, and were activating their Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) devices.
A rapid intervention crew entered the building at 4:36 p.m. to search for Captain Figueroa and Firefighter Jones. At 4:40 p.m., Captain Figueroa was located by firefighters. He was unconscious and removed from the building when he transported by ambulance at 4:50 p.m. He was not able to be revived.
Due to low visibility and structural collapse, all interior operations were halted, and the fire was fought in a defensive mode. Urban search and rescue resources were called to the scene overnight. Firefighter Jones was located and removed from the structure in the early morning hours of Feb. 19, 2021.
The cause of death for both Captain Figueroa and Firefighter Jones was asphyxiation and smoke inhalation.
A comprehensive Multi-Agency Serious Accident Review Team investigation report was prepared on this incident. The report is available at https://cms9files.revize.com/portervilleca/departments/Fire/PFD-SART-Report.pdf