Death of Two Firefighters in the Porterville City Library Fire


Photo courtesy of Ron Holman. Visalia Times-Delta.

Brothers and Sisters,

We are deeply saddened by the recent tragic Porterville City Library fire.  District Superintendent Debra Brady has informed our Extended Cabinet of the impact of this fire on the communities of Porterville and Tulare. 

One of the two firefighters who died, Patrick Jones, was the 25 year-old son of Sandra and John Jones, active leaders of the Tulare UMC.  He will be memorialized at our Tulare church under the pastoral care of Rev. Mary Maaga. Fire Captain Raymond Figueroa was a member of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church of Delano. Let us pray for the families of these fallen heroes and for their communities of faith who are striving to support them. 

Let us also pray for the two boys who have been charged with arson in this sad case. Rev. Tom Buratovich, pastor of Porterville Grand Ave and First United Methodist churches, has over a number of years led an outreach program in the public schools of Porterville and knows the boys and their families.  He has shared with us that they are at-risk children. While our pastor and churches in Porterville are ministering to the entire community, they are also concerned about the charged boys because of the vulnerable circumstances of their lives. 

May God extend mercy and healing to all who have been affected by this incredibly devastating occurrence. May our United Methodist churches and pastors of Porterville and Tulare be strengthened and sustained as they are called to serve with the grace of Christ under such difficult circumstances. Let us call upon the Lord who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).


Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño



California-Nevada Conference
1350 Halyard Drive
West Sacramento, CA 95691
(916) 374-1500