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Man Dies In Suspicious South LA House Fire

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A house fire was under investigation Monday morning in South Los Angeles after the body of a man was discovered inside.

Firefighters responded to a home at 117 W. 119th Street around 8:30 a.m., Los Angeles Fire Department officials said.

The blaze was put out in 15 minutes by 29 firefighters. The body of an unidentified 55-year-old man was found in an unknown location of the house.

“My friend told me there was a fire down the street so I just came to see, and they pulled the body outside and I looked and I’d seen the face. So I went to tell my friend and neighbors it looked like someone we know,” neighbor Zora Thompson said.

Ruben Casin, a friend of the victim, said, “He was a nice dude. I saw him every day. He seemed like a real good person.”

Officials said the fire and victim’s death was suspicious. It is being investigated by homicide and arson teams.

“We do have LAFD arson personnel on scene with our detectives from homicide,” said Lt. Jeff Nolte of the Los Angeles Police Department. “At this point, it would be mere speculation what occurred.”

Neighbors told CBS2’s Art Barron the victim was beaten and robbed before someone torched the home, which allegedly belonged to the victim’s girlfriend. Police have yet to confirm details.

Anyone with information should contact the LAPD’s Southeast station at (213) 972-7828.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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