1 Dead in Encinitas Gas Leak

Foul play is not suspected, according to officials

One person died in a gas leak Friday morning at a home in Encinitas, officials confirmed.

Authorities were called to a house in the 200 block of Florita Street just after 11 a.m. to investigate the leak.

When crews arrived, officials smelled a strong odor of natural gas coming from the home and noticed a “very high level” of gas based on meter readings, Encinitas Battalion Chief John Blumeyer said.

When crews entered the home, they discovered one man dead inside.

As of 11:20 a.m., firefighters were working to secure the leak. San Diego Gas & Electric had also been called to the scene to shut off the gas source.

Blumeyer said most of the windows inside the home were shut. He could not say whether foul play was suspected. Sheriff’s deputies were called to take over the investigation.

NBC 7 spoke with one of the victim’s friends who said he was visiting from Huntington Beach. When he arrived at the home, he smelled gas and heard a hissing sound coming from the kitchen area.

The friend, who asked to remain anonymous, said he opened a window into the house and found the victim dead on the couch.

He said the victim worked as a tattoo artist, loved to surf and was a father to three young children. Those kids were not home at the time of the gas leak. The friend said the victim did not seem despondent or suicidal when he last spoke with him on Sunday.

Jon Dodd, another of the victim’s longtime friends, said the man was a wonderful person. He saw him just three days ago and said nothing suggested the victim was having any problems.

“I’ve known him since I was in the fifth grade. He’s been my friend this whole time. He’s the reason I live in Encinitas. We grew up in Long Beach together. He’s a good father, a good husband and he’s wonderful. Multi-million guys’ best friend. The guy is loved,” Dodd told NBC 7.

As of 2 p.m., officials remained on scene. San Diego County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Jan Caldwell said investigators did not yet know if this death was accidental. She said the San Diego County Medical Examiner would help make that determination at a later time.

Deputies were not conducting a criminal investigation, Caldwell said, but the investigation into the gas leak and death is ongoing.

The victim’s name was not immediately released.

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