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article imageFire that killed four in Florida was arson, officials say

By Nathan Salant     May 8, 2014 in Crime
Tampa - A man who appears to have died along with his family when fire destroyed their rented Florida mansion this week had recently bought gas cans and fireworks, authorities said today.
Hillsborough County investigators said the fire, which destroyed the $1.6 million, five-bedroom mansion rented from a former tennis star, had been intentionally set.
The blaze is believed to have killed Darrin Campbell, an executive with Tampa digital documents company Vastec Inc., his wife, Kim, and their two children.
Four bodies found in the home were presumed to be the Campbell family, but the identities of the bodies have not been officially established, according to the Tampa Tribune newspaper.
Sheriff's Department officials said at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon that all four bodies had suffered gunshot wounds, suggesting murder-suicide, but investigators were exploring other possibilities as well.
Investigators said fireworks were spread throughout the house and an accelerant was used to advance the flames, the newspaper said.
An executive with Phantom Fireworks, which has two stores in Tampa, told the newspaper that Campbell had purchased more than $600 worth of items on Sunday.
Officials said it could take days to find out what happened because the house was left in poor condition from the fire and water damage.
Vastec issued a statement expressing "heartfelt sympathies" to friends and relatives of Campbell, who was the company's chief operating officer, the newspaper said.
Officials at Carrollwood Day School in Tampa, where both of the Campbells' kids attended, said they had brought in grief counselors to help children and staff deal with the loss of Colin, a senior, and Megan, a ninth-grader.
The Campbells had rented the mansion, located in the exclusive enclave of Avila, from retired tennis star James Blake for the past two years.
Blake has been living in Connecticut and was not in Florida on Wednesday, the newspaper said.
Blake won 10 major tennis tournaments in 13 years on the pro tour.
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