Arson Suspected In Rural California House Fire

Wednesday, April 11th 2007, 7:23 am
By: News On 6

HAPPY VALLEY, Calif. (AP) _ Authorities say arson may be the cause of a pre-dawn fire that tore through a four-bedroom home, killing six family members.

``It's definitely suspicious,'' Sheriff's Capt. Dave Compomizzo said, citing factors such as ``how fast it started, the potential of flammable liquids, as well as the condition of the victims.''

Investigators were questioning a seventh resident of the house, who told them he left for work before the blaze began early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters were called to the single-story home in the rural northern California town of Happy Valley at 4:45 a.m. after neighbors discovered the fire. No emergency calls were made from inside the house, Compomizzo said.

Compomizzo said bodies were found throughout the residence. Some of the victims were burned so severely that dental records and DNA will have to be used to confirm their identities, he said. Authorities believe their ages range from 13 to 60s.

Jeffrey Crow, a newspaper carrier for the Record Searchlight of Redding, said he came upon the blaze while on his route, but the heat and flames were too intense to try going inside.

``You heard just one bloodcurdling little scream. I mean, a horrific scream,'' Crow told the Record Searchlight. ``They were being burned alive.''