Chula Vista

The San Diego County Coroner's Office tentatively identified a man who burned to death aboard a floating barge late Wednesday as Mitchell Dearman, 67, of Chula Vista. Witnesses reported seeing an intense fire aboard the 40-foot-long steel barge floating a few hundred yards offshore west of E Street late Wednesday. The Harbor Police sent a fire crew to put out the blaze, which caused extensive damage. On Thursday morning, friends and relatives of Dearman discovered the body aboard the boat. It was burned beyond recognition, deputy coroner David Lodge said. Lodge said he didn't know why there was a delay between the extinguishing of the fire and the discovery of the body, but added that it would have been difficult to see the body in the dark. Dearman had been living on the barge, Lodge said. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Harbor Police.

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