North Richmond house fire fatality ruled homicide

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Photo: Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

The death of a man in a North Richmond house fire has been ruled a homicide, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office.

An autopsy determined that Virillio Patino-Cruz, 23, of North Richmond, died from carbon dioxide intoxication due to smoke inhalation due to the fire, which occurred Tuesday morning at a home in the 1800 block of Giaramita Street, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday.

Patino-Cruz was found unresponsive in the home and was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced deceased, the sheriff’s office said.

Even before the autopsy was done, Patino-Cruz’s death was deemed suspicious. Arson investigators joined Sheriff’s Office detectives in probing the incident.

Further details about the investigation were not immediately available. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or through Sheriff’s Office dispatch at (925) 646-2441. For any tips, email: [email protected] or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.