Authorities are investigating the death of a man whose burned body was found inside a blazing camper shell in an Alpine back yard Saturday morning.
About 3 a.m., firefighters responded to reports of a brush fire in the 1900 block of Tavern Road and discovered a vehicle on fire. Next to it on the ground was the camper shell in flames, according to San Diego County Sheriff's Sgt. Conrad Grayson. When the fire was extinguished, they found the burned remains of a man later identified by county coroner's deputies as Paul Albert Leahy, 35.
According to Grayson, Leahy's body was found near a dead dog.
Alpine Fire Chief Woodrow Downing requested an arson investigation, Grayson said. An autopsy is being performed to determine whether the fire caused Leahy's death.
A neighbor who asked not to be identified said she heard two explosions that seemed to occur near the fire.
She said many people in the neighborhood were alarmed by the blaze because the area is so dry and is often whipped by Santa Ana winds.