Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police, firefighters find body in rubble of St. Petersburg home destroyed by fire

ST. PETERSBURG — The body of a 51-year-old man was found Sunday in the rubble of his home destroyed in a fire last week, officials said.

Ronald Lawrence Black, 51, was a tenant living at 4340 Sixth Ave. N. His body was discovered Sunday by workers hired to clear out the fire debris.

It was not immediately clear whether Black died in the Thursday morning fire or had died beforehand.

Two guests, who had been staying in the house with Black the night of the fire, told firefighters Thursday morning that Black had been doing drugs and making suicidal statements during the course of the night. This was "unusual" behavior for him, officials said.

Just before the fire broke out, Black had been praying at a makeshift altar with multiple burning candles, investigators said.

Firefighters had initially said candles lit near a window curtain ignited the flames, which destroyed the one-story wood-frame house.

The two guests evacuated the apartment and told firefighters they did not see where Black had gone.

Another witness told investigators he had seen Black outside of the apartment heading west down an alley after the fire started, St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue spokesman Lt. Joel Granata said.

Believing Black had fled the scene, was potentially suicidal and intoxicated, police listed Black as a missing and endangered person in the aftermath of the fire.

No injuries were initially reported.

On Sunday, two workers hired to clear the debris from the property discovered Black's body and called 911, Granata said. Black was identified following an preliminary report performed by the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's Office.

It did not appear the body had suffered any trauma or violence, according to the medical examiner's report. An autopsy and toxicology report will be performed.

Contact Marissa Lang at mlang@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386.

Police, firefighters find body in rubble of St. Petersburg home destroyed by fire 01/09/12 [Last modified: Monday, January 9, 2012 2:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84

    Nation

    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General

    Crime

    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest

    Nation

    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.