Police Investigating Mysterious Harrisonburg Death

By: Tom Dempsey Email
By: Tom Dempsey Email

February 1, 2011

New details emerged Tuesday morning surrounding the mysterious death of a 62-year-old man from Harrisonburg and the fire that broke out at the home he rented.

The investigation into the man's death is ongoing, but Harrisonburg Fire Chief Larry Shifflett said nothing was unusual about the fire. He also said the death of Archivaldo Marquez Romero could have been an accident.

After receiving two calls about the emergency, Shifflett said there were no signs of a fire from outside the home when they arrived. He said the fire likely started in the kitchen, and he estimated the damage to be around $50,000.

Due to the damage, he thinks the fire started well before the first call. However, as he explained, fire crews were only there for a short while.

"Our theory is that the fire consumed the oxygen on the inside of the building, and just burned itself out," says Shifflett. "It's not unusual to report the fire consumed whatever oxygen was in the building and self-extinguished itself. That appears to be what happened yesterday."

Questions still remain about what exactly killed Romero and what caused the fire. Police say they are waiting on autopsy reports, and Shifflett says they'll know more about the cause of the fire by the end of Tuesday.

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