Sunday, May 19, 2024

Suicide Investigation Underway in Pinellas Park Fire

fatalppfire038Suicide Investigation Underway in Pinellas Park Fire

July 26, 2014

UPDATE 4:46 pm

Officers learned that two men who knew the victim were the first on scene and entered the residence before the fire department arrived. They entered the home and attempted to put out the fire. When their efforts failed, one man tried to remove the woman from the home. He was overcome by smoke and had to abort his efforts to save himself. He was not injured. 
Officers surveyed the damage to the home and noted there was partial roof collapse on the east side of the home. Inside the living room area of the residence was the body of a female with obvious trauma. Due to the obvious trauma, and evidence that the fire was not the cause of the injuries to the female, a decision was made to call out detectives to continue the investigation. 

When the detectives and medical examiner entered the residence, they set out to conduct a physical examination of the decedent. At the conclusion of the examination, the detectives were able to establish that the trauma to the woman was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It is now believed that the fire was intentionally set by the woman shortly before she took her own life. 

The woman did own several cats and they were not in the house at the time of the fire. It is believed that the woman placed the cats in a shelter. One cat was left on the doorstep of a neighbor with a note left nearby. Another note was found inside of the vehicle of the 61 year-old woman.  The vehicle was parked a block away and was not left in the driveway.  Neither note offered any insight as to why the fire was set. 
An autopsy will be required to determine the actual cause of death. There is no reason for investigators to believe this was anything more than a suicide. If the circumstances change, I will update this release. At this time, the case remains open pending the determination as to the cause of death by the District 6 Medical Examiner. 
The woman as been identified as 61 year-old Birgitta K. Melm.

Original Posting 10:07AM

A 911 call was received regarding a residential structure fire at about 6:25 AM on Saturday, July 26, 2014.  The address of the residence is 7600 71st Avenue N.  Neighbors were attempting to access the residence in attempt to get any victim(s) from the home.  One neighbor was reportedly overcome with smoke prior to the arrival of the fire department.

Responding fire crews were able to see smoke from Park Blvd and 66th Street.  Initial crews from Pinellas Park Fire Department reported the structure to be fully involved upon their arrival.  One deceased victim was located and crews were ordered to retreat from the structure as the roof began to collapse.

According to Sgt. Adam Geissenberger of the Pinellas Police Department, the death is being treated as a homicide due to the suspicious nature of the fire and visible injuries to the decedent.  Investigators are also now attempting to locate her vehicle which was not on-scene.

The Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office and Pinellas Park Police Department will continue the investigation.

Additional information will be released when available

Other crews from Pinellas Park Fire Department, Seminole Fire Rescue, Sunstar, and Pinellas Park Police Department were dispatched to the scene.


© 2014 IONTB.COM



[mappress mapid=”211″]

It has been almost 13 years since the inception of IONTB. Our operating expenses are not huge by any stretch of imagination but funds are necessary for our continued survival.  We are asking for a one time contribution or contribution on a monthly basis to help continue IONTB to flourish and enhance the coverage of news in the Tampa Bay area. Think of it as just giving up just a couple of your favorite coffee drinks each month.


Stay Connected