Four bodies found in burned out Avila mansion owned by former tennis pro James Blake

The blaze that burned a home in Tampa’s Avila community where four people were found dead Wednesday appears to have been intentionally set, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
 
Investigators also found “commercial type” fireworks in the home, said Hillsborough County sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Lusczynski. They are considering the possibility the deaths are the result of a murder-suicide, she said, adding that no conclusions have been made yet.
 
Two adults and two teenagers were found in bedrooms of the home at 16223 Sierra de Avila, she said. Two of them had “upper body trauma.” Investigators are waiting for a medical examiner to determine how the injuries were received.
 
Friends identified the deceased as the Campbell family.
 
Darrin Campbell, the father, was a treasurer at Carrollwood Day School, according to Ryan Kelly, the school's principal. Students at the school identified the teenagers as siblings Colin and Megan Campbell and their mother as Kim Campbell.
 
A 911 call came in around 5:45 a.m. to report an explosion and fire at the home.
 
The fire started on the garage side of the house, according to 911 calls.
 
"This is so bad,” a caller said. “I was walking my dog and the house just exploded.”
 
The explosions were likely the fireworks spread across the house, Lusczynski said.
 
Lusczynski said an accelerant was used to set the fire.
 
The adults were found in the master bedroom, she said. The teenagers were found in their respective bedrooms. 
 
“On two of the victims there is upper body trauma,” she said, “but we are going to wait for the medical examiner on the exact cause of death and what those injuries were."
 
Detectives interviewed celebrity neighbors like Tony Dungy to gather any information they could. Lusczynski added neighbors do not need to worry about their safety.
 
 
The home is owned by retired tennis star James Blake, who deputies said had been renting it out for two years.
 
Deputies are trying to get surveillance video from nearby homes as part of their investigation.
 
Blake was in Connecticut at the time of the fire and was told Wednesday morning about the tragedy.
 
He bought the home in the Avila subdivision in 2005 for $1.5 million, according to Hillsborough County property records. It had five bedrooms and five bathrooms.
 
"It's in the back part of Avila...It's a massive home," said Nacole Revette, a spokeswoman for Hillsborough Fire Rescue.

Listen to 911 Call #1 | Listen to 911 Call #2 | Listen to 911 Call #3

One teen who was driving out of Avlia told ABC Action News he knew the victims and was close with one of them.

"I was really good friends with him, he hasn't done anything to anyone ever, and the daughter, she was beautiful and their parents were great people. It's just so bad this happened," he said through tears.

The fire proved extremely difficult to extinguish, Lusczynski said. Hot spots continued to burn and at one point, the fire re-ignited inside the 7,600 square-foot home.


At noon, firefighters were still dousing flames.

Lusczynski said it may be Thursday before sheriff's detectives can gain access.

"We're going to be here for days," she said, adding that's it's too early to determine the cause of the fire or if its origin is suspicious.

"We haven't been able to confirm how they died. We haven't been able to search the entire residence," Lusczynski said during a Wednesday morning briefing.

"Due to the magnitude of the structural damage caused by the fire, this investigation will be a slow, meticulous process," the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office said in an afternoon release.

Blake, 34, was ranked fourth on the ATP world tour in 2006. He also has the James Blake Foundation, an organization dedicated to cancer research, in memory of his father who died of gastric cancer.

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