Santa Clara man dies in overnight fourplex fire

Image 1 of 3

A 3-alarm fire in the early hours of Sunday morning in Santa Clara has left one dead, officials said.

Firefighters first received the call just before 2:00 a.m. and arrived to flames spreading through a fourplex structure on Clyde Avenue and Lock Lomond Street. They found a man in the building already in cardiac arrest. He was transported to a hospital where he died. 

The coroner's office has not released the man's identity, but neighbors told KTVU his name was Jim, they say he was middle-aged and lived alone. The fire appears to have started in his apartment. 

Neighbors describe him as a very pleasant man, 

“He has lemon trees and he would leave lemons on my doorstep constantly,” said Bobbi Tafoia, a neighbor. “Always friendly. Very nice man.”

All of the other residents got out of the building safe. 

A very sad outcome for a fire that the chief says was particularly challenging to fight because of the way it burned and the construction of these homes, which are all connected.

“We were concerned that one of the walls had collapsed,” said Chief Bill Kelly of the Santa Clara Fire Department. “The roof did collapse, but everybody’s ok.”

No firefighters were injured.

The fire chief says they're going to have to wait and see what the medical examiner says before they conclude whether the cardiac arrest happened before the fire or as a result of it. The man's cause of death is under investigation, along with the investigation into the cause of the fire.