San Diego Fire-Rescue authorities said a body was found Tuesday inside an abandoned home that had caught fire in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
The fire was reported at a building on Imperial Avenue west of Euclid Avenue, less than a block away from the department's fire station, at about 5:25 a.m.
When crews arrived shortly after, flames were shooting 30 feet into the air and the blaze was threatening nearby homes, SDFD Battalion Chief Chris Babler said.
Crews began evacuating neighboring homes, including one housing a family of six. Other apartments were receiving smoke damage, Babler said.
Within about 15 minutes, crews had the fire knocked down. When they went inside the abandoned home, a man's body was found, Babler said.
Babler said there was evidence there may have been squatters inside the home, which was under demolition and surrounded by fencing.
"It appears that inside that boarded home we did have squatters seeking refuge in there," Babler said. "There are belongings inside that vacant home that indicate to us that somebody was seeking shelter in there and using it to have warming fires as well as maybe cooking in there. So we’re looking at all the possibilities."
Babler added that it appeared "quite a few" people were using the home for shelter from the cold.
No one else was injured but investigators are seeking others to determine what happened.
Investigators with the Metro-Arson Strike Team were called to look into the cause of the fire.
About 35 crew members with both SDFD and National City Fire responded to the incident.
This is a developing story and will be updated. Check back for details.