Autopsy scheduled for woman found dead in house fire

Neighbors say the home was boarded up and vacant for some time

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday on the body of a woman found dead at the scene of a fire at an abandoned Desert Hot Springs residence, authorities said.

The blaze was reported about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at a boarded-up, 800-square-foot home, said Mark Annas of the Riverside County Fire Department.

The fire was contained to the 800-square-foot home, and with a fire station only a block away, it was put out quickly.

"On arrival, (fire fighters) found a small residential structure that was well involved in flames," Cal Fire Battalion Chief, Rick Griggs said. "They knocked the fire down in about five minutes. When making a search of the structure, they found an individual that was deceased on the interior of the structure fire."

The name and city of residence of the woman who died inside the building is being withheld pending notification of her family.

The fire chief says the building may have been used by transients. Neighbors say they've watched people come and go from the abandoned home.

"That property has been vacant for like, ten years," said Irwin Solk, who lives across the street from the home that burned south of Pierson Blvd. on Cactus Drive.  

"They boarded it up years ago. People just go in there, eventually the police chase them out"

Another neighbor, Randy Kuehner, said he's seen people going into the building late at night.

"It's sad that people have to actually go places like that to live," Kuehner said. "I thought that was closed up pretty well. I guess they thought so, too."

The cause of the fire is under investigation. 


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