One person died in a two-alarm house fire in Cupertino early Monday morning, and sheriff's detectives have launched a joint arson-homicide investigation, according to authorities.
The blaze started at about 4:20 a.m. in the 1000 block of Tuscany Place in a neighborhood near South De Anza Boulevard, fire officials said. A man's body was found inside the home.
A Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said the death is suspicious, and the house is a crime scene.
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According to the Santa Clara County Fire Department, it took about 30 firefighters to knock down the flames. They said the fire began in a first floor back room then swept into the attic.
"Initially we were given a report that there was one person trapped inside," said Battalion Chief Mike Mathiesen. "We made a count. We got accountability of the two, but the third was found in the hallway here, deceased.”
Two other people managed to escape the flames, fire officials said. No other injuries were reported.
Fire officials told the Sheriff's Department that the circumstances of the body were not normal. Sheriff's homicide detectives are handling the investigation.
Sheriff's Department acknowledged deputies have responded to incidents at the house in the past, but declined to give any details.
A neighbor said the neighborhood saw "strange activity" and a petition asking the building's owner to stop it began circulating.
"The people over there have a petition to sign , and we did sign about a month ago - petition that she do something about the renters," said neighbor Vicki Melinaskuas.
Investigators at the scene took a car away to be searched and analyzed.
"We’re interviewing neighbors, canvassing homes, video surveillance footage, cars, pretty much everything we can do," said Santa Clara County Sheriff's Spokesman Dep. Russel Davis. "We do have a CSI team our here as well."
If this case is declared a homicide, it would be the first in the city this year.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office at 408-808-4500. Alternatively, you can contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigations anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431 or on the sheriff's office website.