January 20, 2012

Detectives investigate death in fire


Big Pine Key – A man was found dead inside a motor home which had caught on fire Thursday night. Detectives are investigating.

Deputies Scott Ward and Spenser Bryan responded to reports that a motor home was on fire at Seahorse Campground on Big Pine Key just before 10 p.m. When they arrived, they saw a man walking away from the motor home carrying a fire extinguisher.

They could see smoke coming from the vehicle, but no flames. They attempted to enter the vehicle to check for anyone inside. The heat and smoke made it difficult for the deputies to see anything; they yelled but got no response. They could see what looked like a foot and leg on a mattress inside, but were unable to get any further inside due to the inability to breath in the heat.

They retreated outside; a short time later, they entered again; they found the body of a man inside. Paramedics arrived and confirmed the man was deceased. He has been identified as a 65 year old resident of the campground. His next of kin have not yet been identified.

Detective Deborah Ryan from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit responded. She will be investigating the death. The Monroe County Medical Examiner will be investigating the cause of the man’s death; the Fire Marshall will investigate the cause of the fire.

Two residents of the park were interviewed; 53 year old Robert Beda told Deputy Ward he saw the flames and put them out with his fire extinguisher; 46 year old Timothy Potter said he saw smoke coming from the vehicle and called the Sheriff’s Office to report it. He said he and a friend then started evacuating neighboring trailers.

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