One firefighter is dead and another missing after a massive blaze at a California city’s public library.
The fire broke out at around 4 p.m. Tuesday at the library in Porterville, a city of around 60,000 in California’s Central Valley, about 70 miles southeast of Fresno, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said.
Library worker Tameran Anzivino said she was in the building when the blaze began and ushered others inside out to safety.
The blaze quickly grew in the library, which is just yards away from the city’s fire station, NBC Fresno affiliate KSEE reported.
Authorities have not identified the deceased and missing firefighters.
“Please join Sheriff Boudreaux, and all of us at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, in sending our deepest thoughts and prayers to the Porterville Fire Department,” the office of Sheriff Mike Boudreax said in a statement on Facebook.
Fire officials have yet to determine the cause of the fire or whether it was intentionally set, according to KSEE.
Anzivino called the fire “heart-wrenching.”
“This is the beloved Porterville city library. It’s the hub of the city and it’s heartbreaking to see it go down like this,” she told KSEE.
A witness to the blaze, Clara Rojas, told the TV station, “It’s impacting on everyone, I think.”
Porterville has a median household income of $41,246, with 29.8 percent of the population living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census.
The City Council last month discussed the possibility of either renovating the library or building a new one, which officials said would cost upwards of $33 million, according to The Porterville Recorder.