A man who was found unconscious inside a burning independent living home in San Diego’s Palm City area has died, and his death has been ruled a homicide, San Diego police (SDPD) said. Authorities say the fire was set intentionally.
Flames and smoke ripped through the single-story house in the 2200 block of Donax Avenue mid morning on Thursday, March 31.
When officers arrived on scene, they were told one resident, later identified as 63-year-old Joseph Garza, was still inside.
Firefighters found Garza unconscious inside; he was taken to the UC San Diego Burn Center suffering from smoke inhalation.
Garza later passed away. The Medical Examiner's office has ruled his death a homicide. The California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated Garza’s death and recorded it as a homicide.
Police say a woman - identified as 47-year-old Glenda Coronado - was arrested at the home for allegedly intentionally starting the fire. The woman, officers said, admitted she set the small home ablaze.
She has since been charged with one count of arson and three counts of arson with great bodily injury. She has been sent to Patton State Hospital for evaluation.
The residence is home to several people, all of whom have unspecified medical conditions.
McBride said two people were inside the home when the fire started. The blaze began in the living room, where there are several beds.
Two San Diego Police Department (SDPD) officers who were the first to arrive at the scene of the fire were also treated for smoke inhalation, officials said.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.