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Officials unable to identify burnt remains found in Pasadena garage

August 04, 2011|By Ana Facio-Krajcer, ana.facio-krajcer@latimes.com

Los Angeles County Coroner’s officials have been unable to identify the charred remains of a woman found two days after a fire in a converted garage in Pasadena. 

“We have not identified the woman due to the condition of the body at this time,” said Ed Winter, Los Angeles County assistant chief coroner. “We will continue to work on it.”

The corpse was discovered on Aug. 2 on the 100 block of S. San Marino Avenue by an arson investigator hired by the homeowner’s insurance company. The fire occurred shortly after 2 a.m. on July 31.

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The residents of the main house were not hurt in the fire. They told firefighters that no one had lived in the detached garage.

“When firefighters got there, they were told everybody was accounted for,” Pasadena Fire Chief Dennis Downs said.

At 6:30 a.m. on the day of the blaze, fire and police officials returned to the house to look into reports of lingering smoke on the roof of the garage. Fire fighters doused the roof making sure no hot spots left smoking, but did not see the body.

Downs said there are several explanations for why firefighters may not have seen the body at first.

Police and fire officials are investigating whether the woman died on the day of the fire or earlier.

“In a fire, your vision and perception is hampered by poor lighting conditions,” Down said. “It was 2 a.m. Heat, smoke and debris, and the combination of those factors, I’m presuming, would have led to the inability to detect the body.”

Downs said the most recent phone calls for emergencies at the house included a 2009 call for a malfunctioning stove and two medical calls, one in 2009 and one in 2008.

Pasadena Police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said police are not investigating the death as a homicide, but as a suspicious death .

The woman is estimated to be 5’5 and weigh 140 lbs.

Ibarra asks residents who may have a missing family member or friend that may fit that description to call the police department at (626) 744-4241.

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