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2 found dead in aftermath of fire

Investigators say the man and woman may have been slain before the blaze began in a bedroom of the Granada Hills home.

January 24, 2007|Stuart Silverstein | Times Staff Writer

The charred remains of two adults were discovered by firefighters battling a house fire Tuesday morning in Granada Hills, and authorities said there is evidence that they were homicide victims.

Battalion Chief Michael Bowman of Los Angeles Fire Department said the man and woman, both apparently about 20, were in a bedroom of the house, in the 10400 block of Danube Avenue.

Bowman said the fire appeared to have begun in the bedroom before spreading. It destroyed about 60% of the residence.

Also killed, apparently by asphyxiation, were three puppies in an attached garage. However, one large dog survived, and ran out when the garage was opened by rescue personnel.

Bowman said his department was investigating the blaze as a possible arson and, without elaborating, added: "We've got several points of evidence leading to a possible homicide." He said the victims may have died before the fire erupted.

Officer Jason Lee, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman, said officials are awaiting a county coroner's report, which could be ready as soon as today, regarding the cause of the deaths before determining whether his agency will continue to pursue the case.

But LAPD Det. Ernest Eskridge, speaking at a news conference, told reporters that there was evidence that points to homicide.

Police on patrol spotted the fire about 6 a.m.

They alerted the Fire Department and tried to enter the house, but were forced back by the fire and smoke.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control in about 15 minutes.

It caused an estimated $200,000 in damage to the house, whose size is believed to be about 1,800 square feet, and about $25,000 to the contents.

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