Body found in burning Tarpey Village home

TARPEY VILLAGE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A fire investigation turned into a suspicious death investigation Tuesday morning when a man's body was found after his Tarpey Village house caught fire.

Aaron Clark tells Action News he saw smoke coming from his neighbor's house across the street, so he jumped into action.

But his heroism was wasted because 74-year-old Michael Colvin was already dead, and investigators now believe he died by suicide.

Smoke still trickled out of the home on Argyle near Norwich Ave. as the sun came up and daylight revealed destruction far worse than fire damage.

Clark saw much thicker smoke and knocked on his neighbor's door at about 5:30 a.m.

"I ran back around, I kicked in his door, screamed his name, nothing," Clark said. "And then after about a minute and a half, noticed he was in the hallway by the living room, laying on the floor. So I just ran in and grabbed him and drug him out."

Clark got Colvin out to his front lawn but noticed he was covered in blood.

Firefighters determined the 74-year-old victim was already dead and not because of what they would've expected.

"He was deceased but he had injuries that were not consistent with the fire," said Tony Botti, spokesman for the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. "We came out and we're treating it as a suspicious death."

Homicide investigators got a search warrant and started collecting evidence.

Arson investigators tried to figure out where the fire started and how close to the spot where Clark found the body.

And Clark tried to figure out why this would happen to his neighbor.

"It couldn't happen to a nicer guy," Clark said. "I've known him for 30 years and he's been just a sweet soul. He's never had a problem with anybody that I know of."

Firefighters say Colvin's house is a total loss, but the fire didn't spread to any other homes.

Investigators say they now believe he started the fire and died by a self-inflicted gunshot.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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