Man found dead in fire-ravaged apartment in Spring Valley - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man found dead in fire-ravaged apartment in Spring Valley

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SPRING VALLEY (CNS) - Firefighters found the body of a 65-year-old man Friday while extinguishing flames that tore through his rental unit in a large East County apartment complex, authorities reported.

The fire erupted at about 5:30 a.m. in the 3500 block of Sweetwater Springs Boulevard in Spring Valley, according to sheriff's officials.

Crews were able to keep the flames from spreading into other apartments, San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District spokesman Leonard Villarreal said.

Deputies evacuated surrounding residences.

After finding the dead man in a bathroom of the charred unit, firefighters called in the sheriff's Bomb-Arson Unit, which investigates cases that appear suspicious or cause serious injury or death.

About 100 people were cleared out of the complex as a safety precaution, Villarreal said. Medics took four of them to a hospital for treatment of apparently minor ailments, including respiratory irritation from breathing smoke.

There was no visible evidence indicating that the deceased resident was slain, authorities said. His name was withheld pending notification of kin, and a cause-of-death ruling was on hold pending completion of postmortem tests.

The blaze left four apartments without electrical service. The American Red Cross was called in to help residents displaced from those units arrange for emergency lodging.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. Sheriff's officials said they had not ruled out arson.

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