Carlsbad officials say 1 person found dead in Poinsettia Fire

CARLSBAD, Calif. - The first fatality connected to this week's widespread and destructive San Diego-area wildfires was reported Thursday afternoon, when crews found a badly burned body while checking for hot spots in an area scorched by the 400-acre Poinsettia Fire, authorities reported.

Firefighters discovered the corpse in the area of Ambrosia Lane and Calliandra Road in Carlsbad, a location known to have been used as an encampment by transients, according to city officials. The victim's name and cause of death were unknown.

The blaze erupted for unknown reasons shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday near Poinsettia Lane and Alicante Road, just east of El Camino Real. Strong Santa Ana winds pushed the flames rapidly to the west toward neighborhoods and some high-tech businesses.

The fire destroyed an 18-unit apartment complex, four single-family homes and two commercial buildings, and damaged at least one other structure and several vehicles, authorities said. The monetary losses thus far have been estimated at $22.5 million.

Citing anonymous sources, 10News reported that investigators consider all but one of the spate of wildfires that have ravaged San Diego County this week suspicious. Sheriff Bill Gore has told reporters that all possibilities, including arson, are being considered.

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