Four Killed in 'Suspicious' California House Fire

QUARTZ HILL, Calif. --

Four bodies were discovered after a fire was extinguished Monday in a home in the Antelope Valley community of Quartz Hill, a Los Angeles County Fire Department inspector said.

Firefighters were sent to 43250 N. 45th Street West at 5:03 p.m., Inspector Ron Haralson said. Firefighters attacked the flames, and then "unfortunately discovered four bodies inside," Haralson said.

Sheriff's homicide detectives were called to determine the circumstances of the deaths. County fire investigators will join in the probe, Haralson said.

As of 8 p.m., the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner was just "marshalling its troops" to go to the home, a department official said. Officials said the cause of death of the four victims was still unknown.

County sheriff's Sgt. Paul Dino said the victims were burned beyond recognition. Homicide investigators were working to identify them.

According to the Los Angeles Times Web site, the bodies were "charred" and the fire was regarded as "suspicious."

A boy who was visiting a next-door neighbor of the victims at the time of the blaze said the smell was reminiscent of gunpowder.

"We've been scared all day," the boy's mother said of the incident.

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