Carlsbad fire didn't cause man's death, coroner rules

Farmworker died of natural causes, not Poinsettia fire that raged in Carlsbad

The person found dead during the Poinsettia fire in Carlsbad in May had died of natural causes, not as a result of the fire, the county medical examiner has concluded.

The charred body of Adolfo Velasco, 47, a farm worker, was found in the deep brush of a homeless encampment on May 15 while the fire raged.

Velasco suffered from chronic alcoholism, heart disease and had a high level of alcohol in his system when he died, the medical examiner concluded. Also, no soot was found in his lungs, which would have been present if he was alive when the fire flashed through the brush.

The Poinsettia fire burned more than 600 acres, destroyed five homes, 18 apartment units, and a commercial building, according to the Carlsbad Fire Department. The firefighting effort cost $12 million, officials said.

The cause of the fire is undetermined. The medical examiner’s conclusion about Velasco means that of the dozen brush fires  that struck the northern section of San Diego County in mid-May, burning more than 20,000 acres, there were no deaths directly related to the fires.




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