Washington D.C. police are investigating what they called a "very suspicious" fire at an upscale home owned by a corporate executive where four bodies were discovered Thursday.
Authorities confirmed that three adults and one child were found dead on the second floor of the home in northwest Washington, just north of the Vice President's official residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Police did not release the identity of the victims or give any information about the cause of death.
The fire was reported at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Assistant Fire Chief Craig Baker said at a news conference that it took firefighters about 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control.
Neighbor Joe Carregal told the Associated Press he was walking his dog when he smelled smoke and went to check out what was happening down the block from where he lives.
"It was all smoke and then boom, it went to fire, coming from the second floor," he said. A man started knocking on the door but no one answered, Carregal said. Firefighters arrived shortly after and had to break down the door. They used two ladder trucks to get to the roof.
Within about 25 minutes, "we saw three people come out on stretchers," Carregal said, adding that medics were performing CPR, trying to revive the three.
Neighbors told WTTG that the house was owned by Savvas and Amy Savopoulos. Savvas Savopoulos is the president and CEO of American Iron Works, a local manufacturing company. The couple have three children — two teenage girls and a younger son. Carregal said the two girls were away at boarding school most of the time.
A housekeeper who worked for the Savopoulos family told WTTG that she was at the home on Wednesday. She said the couple, their son and another housekeeper slept in the home that night. The housekeeper told the station that she received a text message Thursday morning from Amy Savopoulos telling her to not come by the house because the family was sick. When she called to respond to the text, the phone call was not picked up.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said there were no obvious signs of forced entry into the house, but added that it is very early in the evidence-gathering stage.
"The nature and origin of the fire is very suspicious," Lanier said. She would not explain what made the fire suspicious, however, and she would not reveal what evidence was found at the scene. Lanier said she was not aware of any recent calls to the police from the home.
Adding to the mystery, Lanier said police are also trying to track the movements of a 2008 blue Porsche with District of Columbia license plate number DK2418 that was seen at the home at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. The chief said the car was later found abandoned in Maryland at around 5 p.m. Thursday, but investigators can't account for its movements during the intervening hours.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.