Tennis Star Fire: Family Of Four Killed At Home Of James BlakeBy: Val Powell - May 8, 2014
A Florida mansion belonging to ex-tennis star James Blake was set on fire and killed a family on four, police reported on Wednesday.
Spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department, Debbie Carter, said that the house was intentionally set on fire. “There were fireworks placed throughout the house.” She also added that the department is “not looking for a suspect.”
The house was located in Avila, an exclusive community known for having heavy security to guard its massive mansions. The community is home to several tennis, baseball, and football players.
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The fire started early Wednesday morning. A 911 call came at around 5:45 am from a passerby. “I was walking my dogs, and I walked by the house and it exploded,” the caller said.
Nacole Revette, one of the responders, said, “flames were coming through the roof” when they arrived. The firefighters tried to extinguish the flames from the inside, but the fire was quickly spreading, so the crew had to get out of the house and extinguish the flames from outside. The strong winds made the task even more difficult.
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After finally putting out the fire, investigators found out that accelerants were poured over the property to help spread the flames. Firefighters also found several types of fireworks spread throughout the bedrooms of the mansion.
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Authorities identified the victims as the Campbell family: Darrin Campbell, 49; his wife Kim, 51; and their two children, Megan, 16; and Colin, 19. According to reports, Blake has been renting his mansion to the family for 2 years. All of the victims were found in their own bedrooms.
Since the fire was intentionally started, authorities are looking into whether the victims were already dead when the fire happened. Autopsies will be performed by the county medical examiner.
George Connley, a former neighbor of the victims said that the Campbells “were a very nice family” and that they did not know of any problems that they were going through.
Carlos Fleming, Blake’s agent, said that Blake was not in Florida at the time of the incident and is not presently available for comment.
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