TEMECULA, Calif. — The bodies of five people were found after a fire gutted a board-and-care home for developmentally disabled people southeast of Los Angeles, authorities said Tuesday.
Remains of the five adults were discovered Monday morning after firefighters put out a fire at the home, said a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
The cause of the fire had not been determined but it was labeled suspicious and arson and homicide investigators were working at the scene, authorities said.
The Sheriff’s Department said coroners were trying to identify the remains found at the house, one of two on a lot set amid ranches and vineyards in an unincorporated area of the city of Temecula.
Coroner’s officials were trying to identify the remains but a relative told the Riverside Press-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/2c69eGm ) that one victim was James Jennex.
Jennex was administrator of the Renee Jennex Small Family Home, which was licensed to care for up to four adults with developmental disabilities, state records indicated.
“James Jennex will be deeply missed,” his brother, Jerry Jennex, told the newspaper. “On behalf of our family, we also pray for and support other families who have lost loved ones in the same tragedy.”
The home was licensed in 2003 and no deficiencies were found during its most recent annual inspection in November, according to records from California’s Department of Social Services.
Neighbor Sofia Villalobos told the Press-Enterprise that her husband called the county Fire Department after the blaze erupted around 5 a.m. Monday, then jumped a fence to reach the scene.
Told that several people were inside, he and another man tried to get inside the burning home but could not because the doorway was too hot. They then broke a window, but the fire intensified, Villalobos said.