Authorities also identified two of the victims as a 44-year-old woman and her 26-year-old son
San Diego police said Thursday they believed last week's fatal house fire in the Mountain View neighborhood of San Diego that claimed three lives was a case of murder-suicide.
San Diego police on Thursday also released the names of two of the fire's victims, Katia Valdivia, 44, and her 26-year-old son, Angel Valdivia.
Police said that, while they have determined the likely cause of the fire, they're continuing to investigate the case in an effort to determine the roles each of the deceased may have played during the incident. None of the victims had significant trauma, police said.
Fire Kills 3 in San Diego on April 1
San Diego police Lt. Matt Dobbs told NBC 7 last week taht the fire appeared to have been intentionally set and investigators with MAST would be working with homicide investigators to determine the cause of the blaze.
Crews responded to the scene sometime around 6:15 a.m. on the 300 block of 38th Street. There, firefighters were met with heavy flames and smoke coming from the front of the house and community members attempting to help in the firefight.
“When we arrived, it seemed there were neighbors out front explaining that there were three people trapped inside," said Chris Babler, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Battalion Chief. "They were trying to put water on the fire.”
A neighbor told NBC 7 last week an older couple and their adult son lived in the home.
In a statement, the San Diego Police Department said the victims "appeared to have succumbed to injuries caused by the fire."
Crews were able to save a dog that was trapped in the fire. The San Diego Humane Society said they took in a pit bull and a Chihuahua named Panther from the fire. Veterinarians from the humane society treated the animals at the shelter.
It's unclear if smoke detectors had gone off in the house before the fire escalated, and Babler added that firefighters were unsure if bars on the window prevented the occupants from escaping the blaze.
He said the fatalities were tragic.
“Our firefighters are taking it really hard today," Babler said. "This was a big loss for the neighborhood and for the San Diego Fire Department so we’ll be checking in with our firefighters.”
Dobbs said authorities "discovered suspicious circumstances" in the fire, prompting them to investigate it as suspicious. On Thursday, SDPD said whoever set the fire used gasoline as an accelerant.
San Diego Police's Homicide Unit have responded to assist in the investigation. The Metro Arson Strike Team has also responded to determine the cause of the fire and see if foul play was involved.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to contact the Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293. Anonymous tips can be made by contacting Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.