‘Very deliberate act.’ Fresno police say fire that killed boy was set at front and back doors

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Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama on Wednesday said a fire that killed a 7-year-old boy in central Fresno was started by someone who poured an accelerant at both front and back doors of the home.

“We are working this as a homicide,” said Balderrama, in a joint news conference with Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis and Deputy District Attorney Steve Wright.

The chief said police detectives are reaching out to “find someone responsible for this horrible death.”

Isaac Vallejo, 7, was unable to escape the home as flames exploded at both exits of the home near College and McKenzie avenues about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. A 13-year-old teenager escaped, but was injured jumping from a second-story window. Four other occupants were able to get out of the house as well.

“The family suffered a great, great loss,” said Balderrama, who offered condolences.

The chief said there was a shooting call at the home in late June, and a medical call there in March, and investigators are checking to determine if the incidents are related. Fire investigators are also working to determine what type of accelerant was used to start the blaze.

“I’m not going to put up with something like this in my community,” said Balderrama, who asked that anyone with information about the crime call Crime Stoppers at 559-621-STOP.

There were four fatalities in house fires by this time last year, and 11 total for 2021, according to a department spokesperson.