4 dead in burned Avila mansion, accelerant found in home - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

4 dead in burned Avila mansion, accelerant found in home

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3 people were found dead inside an Avila home Wednesday morning. A 4th body was found in the afternoon. HCFR photo 3 people were found dead inside an Avila home Wednesday morning. A 4th body was found in the afternoon. HCFR photo
Eagle 8 aerials of the house Eagle 8 aerials of the house
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Investigators found fireworks, accelerant and four bodies inside a burned Avila mansion on Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities did not release the identities of those found inside the home, but did say the home was rented by a family with the last name of Campbell.

A HCSO spokesperson said that two of the bodies inside the mansion had suffered trauma to their upper bodies. The bodies of two adults were found in one bedroom, the body of one teen was found in another, and the fourth body, another teen, was found in another bedroom. An investigation is underway into the cause of the fire and the deaths of the four people.

The home is located at 16223 Sierra de Avila. A neighbor called 911 early Wednesday morning to say there had been an explosion and fire in the area. When firefighters arrived at about 5:45 a.m., smoke and flames were coming from the home. Firefighters went inside the home as they fought the fire and found the bodies of two people.

Firefighters continued to battle the blaze and had it under control. They were putting out hot spots, but the blaze rekindled.

Firefighters later found a third body and then a fourth.

While fighting the fire and performing a search of the residence, Hillsborough County Fire Department told detectives that they saw fireworks inside the residence. It was not disclosed exactly where the fireworks were located, or how exactly the blaze kindled.

"It is too early for us to tell,” said Colonel Donna Lusczynski with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. “We haven't been able to get to close to the residence just because of the fire.”

Lusczynski said that it could take days before the bodies of the dead are identified and the cause of the fire is determined. The home is more than 6,000 square feet in size.

Surveillance video from neighboring homes is expected to play a role in piecing together what happened.

“That is certainly going to be a part of our investigations,” said Col. Lusczynski. “We will be conducting interviews with neighbors, witnesses, and pulling any surveillance video from homeowners.”

According to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's website, the house belongs to James Blake. The mailing address listed on the record is in Cleveland, OH. According to the website, the house was built in 2005 and its market value is listed just under $1 million as of 2013.

James Blake is a professional tennis player who retired in 2013. A HCSO spokesperson said they believe that Blake did not live at the home, and that the Campbell family had rented it from him for the past two years.

As word trickled out about the fire on Wednesday, friends of Megan and Colin Campbell took to social media, posting messages about the two teens.

At Carrollwood Day School, head of school Ryan Kelly confirmed the family – who had not been identified yet – was known to the school.

“Obviously, our hearts are broken at Carrollwood Day School,” he said. “We’re grieving as a community and we’ve rallied around our students and our faculty and our parents.”

The two high school students did not attend class on Wednesday, Kelly said.

“The tenor of the school is sadness, I think that is pervasive around the school and as this unfolds further, I think that will continue to be the tone of the school.”

Counselors were available for students, parents and teachers, he said.

In addition to the student connection at the school, Darrin Campbell serves as Carrollwood Day School’s treasurer.

Stay with WFLA.com for more on this developing story.

Lauren Mayk & Josh Thomas contributed to this story.

Copyright WFLA 2014. All rights reserved.


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