Police: Fire at Florida home was arson; 4 dead

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Police: Fire at Florida home was arson; 4 dead
Tampa man killed in burned home of tennis star had bought fireworks http://t.co/8vNuJo1K1R http://t.co/RI4KTz5xj3
In this photo provided by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, flames destroy a mansion owned by former tennis star James Blake Wednesday May 7, 2014, in a gated community in Tampa, Fla. Officials have confirmed that three bodies have been found in the home. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Spokeswoman Cristal Bermudez Nunez says neighbors have told detectives that Blake hasn't lived in the house for a while and was renting it out. (AP Photo/Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)
Damage from a house fire at the #Tampa home of tennis player, #JamesBlake. More details at noon. @HillsFireRescue http://t.co/4YAIdV9tQu
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: James Blake of the United States returns a shot against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia during their men's singles first round match on Day Three of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2013 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22: Tennis player James Blake attends the 14th Annual BNP Paribas Taste Of Tennis at W New York Hotel on August 22, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for BNP Paribas)
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 26: James Blake returns a forehand to John Isner during the BB&T Atlanta Open in Atlantic Station on July 26, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: James Blake of the United States returns a shot against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia during their men's singles first round match on Day Three of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2013 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: James Blake of the United States of America plays a backhand during his Gentlemen's Singles second round match against Bernard Tomic of Australia on day four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 27, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
James Blake signs balls for fans after winning his match against Julien Benneteau in the men's singles second round at the Sony Open Tennis, in Key Biscayne, Florida, Friday, March 22, 2013. Blake won, 6-2, 6-3. (Emily Michot/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
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By TAMARA LUSH

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The "unusual" fire at a Florida mansion belonging to a former tennis star was intentionally set and a family of four was discovered in the charred remains, police said Wednesday.

The victims were described as two adults and two teenage children, but they have not been positively identified, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Col. Donna Lusczynski said. She described the fire as "unusual" and said there were "various fireworks" throughout the Tampa Bay-area home.

Two of the bodies appeared to have "upper body trauma," but she didn't indicate which ones or give any more details. She also said no weapons had been found.

Former tennis standout James Blake had been renting the home to the family for about the past two years, Lusczynski said. He was not there at the time of the fire.

4 Dead In Fire At Former Tennis Player James Blake's Florida Home


The home was in an upscale subdivision north of Tampa. Many sports stars and executives live in the neighborhood.

Hours after the fire was reported about Wednesday 6 a.m. EDT, firefighters were still at the more than 6,000-square foot home located north of downtown Tampa. Blake bought the home in the Avila subdivision in 2005 for $1.5 million, according to Hillsborough County property records. It had five bedrooms and five bathrooms. Video of the fire showed it totally engulfed in flames.

Lusczynski said the two teenagers were found in their respective bedrooms and the two adults were found in their bedroom.

Avila is an exclusive enclave known for its mansions and heavy security. Many well-known athletes call the community home and over the years, various football, baseball and tennis players have bought homes in the subdivision, which has a country club and golf course.

Blake, 34, was ranked fourth on the ATP world tour in 2006 before he retired last year. He also has the James Blake Foundation, an organization dedicated to cancer research, in memory of his father who died of gastric cancer.

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Follow Tamara Lush at https://twitter.com/tamaralush

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