SACRAMENTO – Two people – a female and a male juvenile – died from a house fire Wednesday night in North Highlands.
At 8:07 p.m., fire crews responded to the scene of the fire at 4061 Stephen Dr. The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office identified the victims as 37-year-old Laura Fernandez and her 8-year-old son Wilfred Villarruel, according to a press release from the sheriff’s department.
According to a report by The Sacramento Bee, firefighters had a difficult time entering the house because of the intensity of the fire and found the victims’ bodies when they finally gained entry.
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jason Ramos said arson investigators spent the rest of the night Wednesday and most of Thursday removing items, such as clothes, bedding and furniture, from inside the house to determine presence of any accelerants. Investigators are yet to determine the exact cause of the fire, which mostly consumed the house’s garage.
“But the entire house is fairly well-totaled and uninhabitable,” Ramos said.
Three other family members, Fernandez’s husband and his two children from a previous relationship, were not home at the time of the fire. The three had been questioned and are not under suspicion at this time,the press release states.
Sheriff’s detectives are waiting for the results of the investigation to determine whether to officially label the incident as a homicide case.
The department is encouraging anyone with information about the incident to call the homicide bureau at (916) 874-5115.