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Barstow PD: Fatal garage blaze investigated as suspicious

STAFF WRITER

BARSTOW • The cause of a fatal fire Sunday is being investigated as suspicious, authorities said Wednesday.

However, Barstow Police Department Lt. Mike Hunter said that is “just as a matter of procedure until an actual cause of death can be determined.”

According to a news release by the BPD, the victim’s identity is pending confirmation from the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department. 

On Wednesday, coroner’s spokeswoman Sandy Fatland confirmed the man’s name has not been released because there has not been any “scientific identification of the body.”

The BPD and Barstow Fire Protection District responded to a fire in the 200 block of North Third Avenue at approximately 4:50 a.m. Sunday. Upon arrival, authorities found a structure fully engulfed. Nearby residents had to be evacuated and utilities in the area were disconnected, officials said in their press release.

Once the fire was extinguished, a body was located inside the structure and detectives began investigating. Personnel from the Sheriff’s Bomb and Arson Division were called to assist detectives in determining the cause of the fire.

Chris Matson, who lives at the residence, identified the deceased only by his first name, Will. He was believed to be 47 years old. Matson said Will had been living in the detached garage for more than two months. A truck and trailer outside the garage also burned in the blaze.

According to the release, the house associated with the garage also caught fire, but fire personnel were able to extinguish that blaze before it caused any major damage.

Anyone with information is asked to call BPD Detective Angel Nevarez at 760-255-5167. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip Hotline at 800-782-7463.

Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com.


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