SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose police and fire arson investigators are working collaboratively to discover if a car fire on Sunday was intentionally set.
Around 5:45 a.m., a reported car fire brought firefighters to Pomona Avenue near Barnard Avenue in the city’s Alma Neighborhood. Once the flames were out, officials made a grisly discovery – a man’s body in a burned out SUV.
"Right now, we don’t know what started the car fire. If it was intentionally set? If there was a mechanical issue with the vehicle? All of that is still under investigation," said Sgt. Christian Camarillo of the San Jose Police Department.
He said the fire is classified as "suspicious" because its origin is unknown.
Police detectives spent much of Sunday collecting surveillance video from surrounding businesses. The area is heavily industrialized, with some vehicles serving as homes to unhoused residents.
Amid the broken glass, burned ash and debris, candles bearing images of the Virgin Mary have been left at the scene, as a make-shift memorial. It is a sign someone may know the person who died here, and possibly why.
"San Jose fire arson investigators are working with our detectives. So this is right now a joint investigation until we determine what started this car fire," said Camarillo.
Investigators want anyone who has information to contact them.
The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner has not said whether the man who died was killed by smoke and flames, or if he was dead before the fire started.
Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter @JesseKTVU and Instagram @jessegontv.