OAKLAND (BCN) — A man who was found dead inside his West Oakland apartment on Tuesday after an explosion and fire occurred while Alameda County sheriff’s deputies were serving an eviction notice was identified by the county coroner’s bureau today as 45-year-old John Navarre of Oakland.
Alameda County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said two sheriff’s deputies, who were accompanied by the building’s landlord and a locksmith, were trying to enter the building in the 1400 block of Peralta Street at about 11 a.m. Tuesday when there was an explosion in the rear of the home.
Nelson said the explosion set the home on fire and Oakland firefighters responded to put the fire out. The two deputies suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Highland Hospital.
Nelson wasn’t immediately available today to provide an update on the condition of the deputies.
Navarre was found dead in the rear of a downstairs units at the three-unit apartment building.
No other tenants at the building were injured, but the building sustained an estimated $300,000 in damage and its tenants have had to find alternate housing because it isn’t habitable, Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Erik Logan said today.
Nelson said on Tuesday that it wasn’t clear if Navarre set off the explosion on purpose or if it was an accidental gas explosion.
Logan said Oakland police are leading the investigation into the incident. Police officials weren’t immediately available for comment today.
Phillip, a man who lives across the street from the triplex and declined to give his last name, said on Tuesday that Navarre “was a recluse who kept to himself.” Phillip said, “I never knew he had any problems. He was always nice to me.”
Isiah Forrest, 68, who rents an upstairs unit, said Navarre “was quiet and kept to himself.”
Forrest’s son lives in a second downstairs unit at the building.
The son, who declined to give his name, said on Tuesday that he was mad at Navarre because “he put my family in danger.”
Logan said it took 18 Oakland firefighters to put out the blaze that erupted after the explosion.
Referring to the damage, Logan said, “It will take a lot to bring
that building back to livable standards.”