Saturday, September 15, 2012

Woman killed in early-morning South Dallas house fire - Dallas Morning News

Dallas authorities were investigating an early-morning house fire that killed a woman in South Dallas on Saturday.

Firefighters spent about an hour battling the blaze at 1908 Park Ave. Once it was mostly extinguished, they entered and found a woman’s unidentifiable remains inside the front room, they said.

The cause of the fire was unclear. Arson investigators were on the scene Saturday morning.

Dallas Fire-Rescue did not say whether anyone lived at the house, which was on a small block of mostly empty lots. Gloria Medina, who lives in the block’s only other occupied home, said the burned house was a rental property but had been empty in recent months. At night, homeless people from the area would often break in and sleep or do drugs, she said.

“I would tell them that they had to leave and chase them away,” Medina said.

Firefighters were called to the scene just after midnight. By the time they arrived, flames were shooting more than 20 feet above the roof, Medina said. Because the house was so engulfed, firefighters said they focused on stopping the fire’s spread. The roof collapsed before the blaze was extinguished, firefighters said.

Dallas homicide detectives were called after the woman’s body was found. But police ceded the investigation to the fire department within hours after it was determined that the woman hadn’t suffered “homicidal violence,” said Cpl. Melinda Gutierrez, a police spokeswoman.

The body was taken to the Dallas County medical examiner’s office, where the exact cause of death had not been determined.

The house was a total loss, authorities said.

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