SJ Man Who Went Back Into Burning Home ID'd

The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office today identified the man killed in a fire in San Jose early Sunday morning as 86-year-old Shizuo Itatani.

Itatani was killed when he re-entered his burning home after escaping the two-alarm fire, which was reported at about 2:50 a.m. at 2970 Verna Drive, San Jose fire Capt. Barry Stallard said.

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Itatani and his wife managed to exit the home safely, but he then told his wife to go, and went back inside, Stallard said.

He was found dead at least an hour later when firefighters were able to enter the building.

Family members and fire investigators have not determined if Itatani went back inside to fetch a pet or to fight the fire, Stallard said.

"They don't know what went wrong," Stallard said.

The home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived and a section of roof had collapsed, preventing the crew from entering, Stallard said.

The fire was contained to the home's attic area by about 3:45 a.m. and was fully controlled just over an hour later.

At around 4 a.m., firefighters found Itatani on the first floor of the home, Stallard said.

The fire caused about $300,000 in damage to the home and appears to have started in the garage area near an aquarium, Stallard said. The cause remains under investigation.

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