Reporting Anjali Hemphill
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A man was found dead inside a burning apartment fire Friday morning, but police aren’t sure the fire is what killed him.
The fire broke out at 3739 Norwood Avenue in the Johnson Heights area at one unit in a four-unit apartment house near Del Paso Park.
Sacramento Police homicide investigators were called out to the scene after wounds were discovered on the man’s body indicating foul play. It’s unclear if the man was already dead before the fire started.
“We don’t know if the fire caused the homicide or if maybe it was trying to cover up what actually happened,” Sgt. Andrew Pettit said.
A witness told CBS13 he heard the victim crying out for help and tried to save him. Eric Kelley said he is devastated he wasn’t able to get his friend out of his burning apartment.
“I had went to go into the house to help him, get him out of there, but it was too hot,” he said. “The front door was locked so he couldn’t just go open the door. So whatever happened, the guy had locked the door.”
Rescue crews found smoke billowing out of the apartment building. While putting out the fire, they found the man’s body in the apartment where the fire started.
Kelley says the man lives there with his mother. He came to help when he heard her screaming.
“She was at the door while he was in there burning,” he said.
The victim was in his 30s, according to police.
Police are looking for a Hispanic man in his 20s who was seen driving an older white Honda Civic with no hubcaps. It was last seen on Norwood traveling toward El Camino Avenue.
Norwood Avenue between Morey and Grand avenues was closed for several hours for the investigation, police said.
Two dogs died in the fire and about a dozen people were displaced.