TAMPA — A fire that engulfed a two-story house Wednesday night was started by a man who trapped himself inside, officials said.
The man was rescued by firefighters but later died of his injuries, while two women escaped through a back window. Two dogs were found inside.
That’s according to the Tampa Arson Task Force, a group of law enforcement and firefighting agencies that announced its findings on Thursday.
Tampa Fire Rescue units arrived at 1011 E 23rd Ave. at about 6:10 p.m Wednesday. Intense flames and heavy smoke were reporting emanating from the two-story house.
The blaze was so intense that live power lines attached to the home fell to the ground, officials said, creating a hazard for firefighters trying to put out the blaze.
Four fire engines and a ladder truck were dispatched to the fire, which was declared under control at about 6:35 p.m., about 30 minutes after it was reported.
One of the women who escaped the house suffered minor injuries.
The man who investigators say started the fire was found unconscious inside the home. Firefighters had to neutralize the power lines before they could enter. When the found him, they carried him out and he was taken to Tampa General Hospital. He later died of his injuries.
Investigators determined that the man, whose name was not disclosed, poured a flammable liquid in two locations in the house and then ignited them. In doing so, he cut off his own escape routes, leaving himself trapped inside the burning house.
Seven dogs were found inside the home. Two were found dead and the rest were treated at the scene with pet oxygen masks, or taken to a local veterinary hospital.
The 2,700-square foot wood-frame house was built in 1920, according to property records. Fire officials estimated $70,000 worth damage to the home and its contents.