MODESTO — A man died Friday after he was found unresponsive in the garage of a west Modesto home where a fire broke out.
Police believe the man, identified as 23-year-old transient Edward Volz, was burglarizing the home and had set fire to it.
Firefighters were called to the 1700 block of Judy Court after neighbors reported seeing smoke coming from the single-story home just southwest of Woodland Avenue and Carpenter Road, said Modesto Regional Fire Battalion Chief Hugo Patino.
Firefighters entered the home and quickly extinguished the fire, which was contained to the master bedroom but filled the house with smoke and caused heat damage. While searching the house, firefighters found and rescued the family's dog and then found Volz unconscious in the garage.
Emergency workers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him, but he died after arriving at Doctors Medical Center, Patino said.
Mike Boggs, who lives at the home with his father, said no one was home during the break-in.
Boggs said he left his home at 4 a.m. Friday to commute to Oakland for his construction job. His 62-year-old father, who recently suffered a massive heart attack, is staying with family members to recover near a rehabilitation center in Chico.
"He stays up there with family and I take care of the house," Boggs said. "So for it to come to this is overwhelming."
Boggs rushed back from Oakland after getting calls from neighbors.
Homicide detectives processed the scene with a fire investigator. They had not determined what ultimately killed Volz, but Patino said he was found with soot on his face and the garage was filled with smoke.
While waiting to be let past the crime scene tape and inside his childhood home to collect belongings, Boggs said, "At least I have the weekend to figure out where I am going to stay and what I am going to do."
The fire caused an estimated $50,000 in damage to the home's structure and $25,000 in damage to its contents, Patino said.
Investigators ask anyone with information about the case to call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Type "TIP704" plus a message.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209)578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.