Teen charged in Calif. firefighters' deaths sentenced to 6 months

Porterville Capt. Ramon "Ray" Figueroa, 35, and Firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, both died at the scene of a 2020 library fire


The Bakersfield Californian

PORTERVILLE, Calif. — A 15-year-old boy was sentenced to six months in juvenile custody Wednesday after a judge found true arson charges in connection to a Porterville library fire that killed two firefighters with Kern County ties, according to a Tulare County District Attorney news release.

Tulare County Juvenile Court Judge Hugo Loza additionally sentenced the boy to counseling, probation, restitution, 100 hours of community service, curfew and submission of DNA. He cannot possess lighters, matches or any ignition device, the DA said in the news release.

Porterville Capt. Ramon
Porterville Capt. Ramon "Ray" Figueroa, 35, and Firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, died at the scene of a fire at a library. (Photos/Porterville Fire Department)

The sentencing follows a controversial outcome for another minor charged in the deaths of Porterville firefighters Capt. Ramon "Ray" Figueroa, 35, of Bakersfield, and Patrick Jones, 25. During trial, a judge dismissed all allegations — including murder — for the second boy charged, which prompted outrage by the Tulare County district attorney and the families of the firefighters.

The 15-year-old boy who was sentenced today faced two counts of arson causing great bodily injury. Murder charges against this boy were dismissed as well.

"It was an honor to sit alongside the families this morning. They, like their sons, exemplified incredible bravery," said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward in the news release. "Though many would agree the results of today's hearing are less than satisfactory, the rightful focus on Captain Figueroa's and Firefighter Jones' heroic acts will be the lasting legacy of this tragedy."

On Feb. 18, 2020, the two boys charged in the incident — who were 13 years old at the time — went into the Porterville Library and lit a piece of paper on fire in the children's reading area. One boy handed it to another, and the flames spread to stuffed animals, decorations and other items, the DA wrote in the news release.

Figueroa and Jones died at the scene battling the flames.

Figueora grew up in Delano, went to Delano High School and had been with the Porterville Fire Department since 2007. He left behind two children, parents, a brother, sister, stepbrothers, nieces and nephews. Jones, a Visalia native, left behind a fiancée, brother, sister and his parents. He joined the department in 2017.


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