Man found dead outside burning house

Body was in backyard; cause of death, blaze unknown

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 1, 2011, 7:26 PM

 

A man was found dead early Monday morning in the backyard of a burning house on Lieser Road, fire officials said.

The man’s identity and cause of death have not been released. The medical examiner’s office conducted an autopsy Monday. Police are expected to release the results and the man’s identity Tuesday.

Vancouver firefighters were called to the house at 2:35 a.m., after neighbors reported hearing an explosion. Upon arriving five minutes later, firefighters found a single-story house at 212 N. Lieser Road fully engulfed in flames, said Vancouver Firefighter-spokesman Chris Moen.

As they began battling the blaze, firefighters circled the exterior, where they found the deceased man.

No one was inside the house at the time of the fire, officials said.

The Vancouver Fire Department’s arson unit and the Vancouver Police Department’s major crimes unit were called to the scene, though investigators have not yet said whether the fire was suspicious. Major crimes detectives are generally called in for fatal fires.

Moen said it’s too soon to know a cause of the fire, as fire investigators still have to conduct a full probe.

The house, which was built in 1954, is a total loss, officials said.

Neighbors reported being awakened by the sound of an explosion.

“I ran out the front door,” said David Manly, who lives across the street. “The north end of the front of the house was in flames.”

Manly said the heat of the fire shattered the front windows. He was the second neighbor to call 911.

The house is owned by David Delano and has an estimated value of $50,942, with the land valued at $57,100, according to county property records.