SOUTH BEND — Police are assisting arson investigators in probing a Saturday morning house fire that killed two people in South Bend.
Firefighters found flames shooting through the front window of the house when they arrived, authorities said. The firefighters pulled out two people, identified as George Bailey, 58, and Angela Williams, 43, both of South Bend. Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett said Bailey died on the scene and Williams died on the way to the hospital. Autopsies are scheduled for next week.
Corbett told the South Bend Tribune and WSBT-TV that investigators have reason to suspect arson or homicide.
"There's some implications that perhaps this may go farther than two deceased people and an arson, that's what we're looking at, that's why we're involved," Corbett said.
"We're looking for witnesses," he said. "We're looking for any evidentiary things that can prove one way or another."
A fire department report said the blaze apparently started in the living room of the house where Bailey lived. Williams lived elsewhere. Owner Burell Glispie said Bailey had rented the two-bedroom, single-story house for two to three years.
Bailey's sister, Verda Bailey, who lives less than a block away, said she called 911 shortly before 6 a.m. after one of her brother's friends knocked on her door and she saw the house engulfed in flames.
She said firefighters tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate Bailey.
"He was everybody's friend," Verda Bailey said. "Didn't have to know you."