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Man Dies in Trailer Blaze

Remains are believed to be those of a worker who was staying in the structure in Camarillo.

August 24, 2004|Catherine Saillant | Times Staff Writer

Authorities were attempting Monday to identify a man found dead inside a burned Camarillo mobile home that was being used to store farm equipment for a nearby strawberry field.

Firefighters discovered the body after fighting a blaze that had broken out in the trailer around 2 a.m. Sunday at 3450 Pleasant Valley Road, said Sgt. Paul Higgason of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. Rescuers were able to enter the mobile home after about 15 minutes of battling the flames, Higgason said.

An autopsy performed Monday showed that the man died from smoke inhalation, said James Baroni, deputy coroner.

Coroner's officials believe the body was that of Agustin Perez Gomez, 36, a migrant farmworker with family in Oaxaca, Mexico. Gomez had been given permission by another worker to live in the trailer for a few days and was seen there Saturday, Baroni said.

But authorities have been unable to confirm the identity through family or friends. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire, but they believe it was started accidentally. The mobile home was not a legal residence and did not have electricity, Higgason said.

Gomez had been living in the trailer for several days prior to the fire, apparently without the authorization of the grower leasing the property or the landowner, Higgason said.

"He was just allowed to stay there until he got on his feet," he said. "A fellow farmworker gave him permission.... It was out of the goodness of his heart."

Anyone with information about Gomez should call the coroner's office at 641-4400, authorities said.

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