Tampa, FL, United States (4E) – Four bodies were found inside the burning Tampa mansion of retired tennis player James Blake on Wednesday.
The identities of the bodies found at different hours by firefighters are still being determined. Blake is not among them as he lives in Connecticut with his family and rents the nearly 6,000-square-foot mansion in the exclusive and upscale Sierra de Avila community in North Tampa, according to Molly Logan of IMG Worldwide, the player’s management company.
Neighbors claimed hearing an explosion from the house and called 911 around 5:45 a.m. Crews from the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue were trying to contain the heavy blaze when they found three bodies during the day and a fourth body around 1 p.m. Fireworks were also found inside the home.
A more detailed search will be conducted when the fire-damaged home is safe to examine and a search warrant secured. Hillsborough County sheriff’s office spokesperson Cpl. Donna Lusczynski said it will take days before it could be done and for medical examiners to identify the bodies.
The fire had been contained and neighboring homes are safe, Lusczynski said.
The home had five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a screened-in pool and spa. Its current appraised value is more than $1 million.
Blake, 34, was not available for comment. He retired after the U.S. Open last year after a 14-year career that saw him won 10 singles titles and achieving a high ranking of No. 4 during the 2006 season.