Police tape

Firefighters found a person dead in a Petersburg home early Friday after they entered to extinguish a blaze.

The victim, who has not yet been identified, was not a resident of the home, said Petersburg Fire Marshal Jim Reid, who noted that the residence was not legally occupied.

“It was a vacant house, not an abandoned house,” Reid explained.

Fire crews responded at 3:13 a.m. for a report of structure fire in the 2000 block of South Whitehall Drive in a subdivision in the city’s east end, not far from Fort Lee, Reid said.

Firefighters found moderate fire showing in the single-story, wood-frame home.

“As they made entry into the front door to do a fire attack, they located a person in the house who was deceased,” Reid said.

The remains will be examined by the state medical examiner’s office to determine the cause and manner of death, Reid added.

The fire extended through the roof of the home and caused significant damage.

“I wouldn’t consider the house a total loss, but it’s pretty severe,” he said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A Petersburg police detective is assisting in the investigation of the death.

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