MODESTO, CA - A man pulled from a house fire in Modesto Friday morning has died, according to the Modesto Fire Department.
Firefighters were sent to a report of smoke from a home on the 1700 block of Judy Court at 10:41 a.m., Battalion Chief Hugo Patino said. He said crews found the flames contained to one bedroom and heavy smoke in the rest of the house.
Firefighters and paramedics performed life-saving measures on the victim who was transported to Doctors Medical Center. However, the man did not survive.
When crews investigated the scene, they found evidence of a burglary and arson, Modesto police Sgt. Rick Applegate said.
Patino pegged the cost of the damage to the house and its contents at $75,000.
The homeowner, Mike, talked about the damage to the home. Inside, the walls were covered with, what Mike identified as, flammable liquid.
"See all the stuff all over the walls. He was trying to get everything burning," Mike said.
Mike was out of town when the fire started. So, when firefighters found the young man's body, neighbor Keith Griffith checked to make sure it wasn't his friend.
"I didn't recognize him. He's just from the area," Griffith said.
Investigators haven't released the identity of the victim, but neighbors believe it's a young man familiar to the community.
"He grew up a couple of blocks away and evidently had had some past legal problems. Nobody knows for sure," Griffith said.
Police released a few details about the investigation, but Mike said they haven't given him any reason to believe his home was specifically targeted. It's also unclear if the man who died is the one who broke into the home, only that he was found there. However, police said someone is responsible for deliberately setting the fire.
"Whoever it was, they went through every drawer in the house, even through everything in the kitchen," Mike said.
Mike said one room's floor had syringes that weren't there before the break-in, which is another clue to what may have happened before the fire.
"He went through the garage and pulled all the accelerant and whatnot off of the wall shelves, my paint thinners and turpentines and whatnot," Mike said.