At least three people were found dead Wednesday inside a multimillion-dollar Tampa, Fla., home owned by retired professional tennis player James Blake after a fire ravaged it. Blake was not inside at the time of the fire, WSP-TV reported Wednesday (with a hat tip to Deadspin).
The fire reportedly broke out around 6 a.m., and unconfirmed reports from TV reporter Meredyth Consuello detailed some of the bizarre circumstances surrounding the deaths.
UNCONFIRMED: Dead in #Avila fire at home owned by James Blake include a man found on floor, woman in bed, teen.— Meredyth Censullo (@WFLAmeredyth) May 7, 2014
AVILA UPDATE: 3 dead in million dollar home. Gunshot wounds to head. 4th victim unconfirmed. Accelerant. High fireworks throughout home.— Meredyth Censullo (@WFLAmeredyth) May 7, 2014
Source: bodies found in burning mansion in Avila had heavy duty fireworks wrapped around their heads. Owner is tennis star James Blake.— Meredyth Censullo (@WFLAmeredyth) May 7, 2014
Consuello’s unnamed source said conditions made it difficult for firefighters to battle the fire.
“Source: Whoever did it (
#Avila) wanted to make sure fire department couldn’t get in and fight fire. Mortars were exploding,” Conseullo tweeted.
Officials confirmed there were reports of gunshots in the area, according to My Fox Tampa Bay, but warned it could have been from ammunition potentially inside the house. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Cpl. Donna Lusczynski said it “could be days” before the home is structurally safe enough to enter and for medical examiners to identify the victims, TBO.com reported.
Blake bought the $1.5 million house in 2005 and had been renting it out, according to TBO.com.
A former ATP World No. 4, Blake retired from tennis in 2013.
UPDATE (2:30 p.m.): The death toll has been raised to four, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@MeredythTV