A blaze at a Southeast D.C. home was likely started to cover up the killings of two people found choked and beaten inside, a D.C. Fire investigation has found.
D.C. Fire and EMS said Monday that a fire on the 3300 block of Ely Street and another fire at a second home nearby were incendiary in nature, meaning the blazed were likely started on purpose.
Firefighters found the remains of 60-year-old Joseph Burgess and 50-year-old Regina Bowman after they had extinguished the fire at a home on Ely Place SE, police said.
Their deaths have been ruled homicides, police say. The medical examiner found both suffered blunt force trauma and asphyxiation.
On Sunday, police said an autopsy on the victims revealed that homicide was the manner of death for both of them.
Burgess and Bowman were found on the first floor of the home.
Authorities said on Saturday that the fire started on the first floor and spread partially to the basement.
One firefighter was hurt after falling through the floor of the burning home. Medics evaluated the firefighter and he went right back into the house to continue searching for victims, D.C. Fire spokesperson Vito Maggiolo said.
Photos showed the home clouded in smoke. Firefighters were able to knock out the flames so police and fire officials could investigate the scene.
The Humane Rescue Alliance also removed a large dog from the back yard, D.C. Fire and EMS said.
Fire officials say a second small but suspicious fire erupted "directly around the corner" on D Street Southeast about the same time, Maggiolo said. That fire was also set intentionally, according to a D.C. fire investigation.
No injuries were reported, but four people were displaced.
Officials have not said if or how the fires could be connected, but the investigation remains ongoing.
It's not clear at this time if there are any suspects.