Mystery of Death in Ramona House Fire

A few days ago, there was a house fire in the upscale neighborhood of Ramona, San Diego. [ One Person Dies in Ramona House Disaster ]

Yesterday, a local caller, apparently a friend of the family of the dead man, called to say there may have been a gas leak in the house, detected by house painters, preparing the empty house for occupation. We amended the story to show that. One of the original suggestions was that, as the explosion appeared to be based in the garage and the fact the home was empty, a meth lab may have been involved. The caller discounted that possibility.

Further investigations now say a gas leak has been ruled out.

While the man was found dead out in the backyard, a neighbor said he ran from within the house to the backyard after he was set on fire. Several witnesses attest to the fact he was heard screaming and took several steps from the house to where he finally landed in the backyard.

Checking on local tax records, it seems $40,000 in property taxes was owed on the property and the Home Owners Association was owed Association fees. The home was purchased three years ago at the height of the market, apparently for $1.2M, but this has not been verified.

With the decline in values, the property may have been worth half that amount. Neighbors say there were at least two unsuccessful attempts to sell the property. Luckily, there were no material goods in the house at the time of the fire and there was nobody living there.

Reports say the dead man knew the owner and had worked at the owner’s gas station for seven years. It was also said the dead man had been picked up by another man at 12:15 in the morning. The identity of this other person is unknown.

There are suggestions that security video tapes from other properties in the area may be available to police, but this could not be verified.

The fire, as shown in the photos, was fierce and took 30 firefighters to control it. [ Story and Photos ]

Claudia Strasbaugh was a freelance writer who founded Scripps Ranch/Mira Mesa Writer’s Guild, was head writer for the weekly TV show “Kill ‘EM With Comedy,” plus California Bureau Chief for National Lotto World Magazine. Claudia also ran a nonprofit called Dinner On A Dollar. Sadly, Claudia passed away in 2015, but we are pleased to display her writing works.