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Body found inside burning car at Santa Rosa park

  • Santa Rosa fire investigators study the scene of a car fire, Wednesday January 15, 2014 at A Place to Play park on West Third street in Santa Rosa. Preliminary reports say that at least one person died. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

Firefighters found a charred body inside a car that burst into flames Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot of A Place to Play, a west Santa Rosa sports complex.

Investigators could not immediately determine the identity of the person inside or whether the fire was accidental or deliberate.

"It's way too early to tell," Santa Rosa police Sgt. Mike Lazzarini said.

The body was so badly burned that Lazzarini could not say whether it was a male or female. The teal Honda Civic was registered to a Santa Rosa man, police Sgt. Dave Linscomb said.

The fire was reported at 3:49 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of the sprawling complex of soccer and baseball fields off West Third Street.

When firefighters arrived, they found flames and smoke billowing from the passenger area of the car, Lazzarini said. They extinguished the flames and found a body inside.

Chad Silva, a Santa Rosa resident, watched the incident unfold from a radio-controlled car track just south of the parking lot.

He said he looked up and saw flames rising from the Honda. He was surprised to learn that someone was in the car.

"We were sitting here playing when all of a sudden someone said -#8216;There's a car on fire,' and sure enough, it was," Silva said.


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