Body Found After House Fire in Riverside County

Neighbors used water hoses in an attempt to stop the flames from spreading

A man's body was found after an overnight blaze ripped through a residential building in Riverside County Tuesday, prompting frantic residents with garden hoses to douse down the flames.

The Riverside County Fire Department and Cal Fire responded to the blaze at about 1:40 a.m. in the 7600 block of Olive Court near Mission Boulevard.

The victim was found sitting in a chair near the door. Firefighters said it didn't appear he was trying to escape the flames. He may have fallen asleep, according to officials. 

"He might have been able to get himself out if he would have heard the smoke detector going off," Capt. Lucas Spelman said, of Cal Fire. 

A smoke detector wasn't found in the man's studio apartment home, according to firefighters. His unit is attached to a main house where four other people were home at the time of the fire. 

"He's been here for about a year, a year-and-a-half," Shamika Sykes said, the homeowner

Sykes described the victim as "wonderful" and "full of life." She also said he was a cancer survivor and she wanted to contact his family about his death before they found out another way. 

Neighbors were horrified by the deadly blaze and concerned about nearby lots filled with dry brush. 

"I'm just petrified and paranoia they're gonna burn this whole place down," Geoff Knox said. "I wish somebody would come and do something before a big fire really happens."

It took fire crews about 30 minutes to put out the fire, the cause of it remains under investigation. 

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