Name of man who died in Seattle fire that killed 4 released, death ruled suicide
Sep 6, 2023, 3:54 PM
SEATTLE (AP) — The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has released the name of a 48-year-old man who was found dead after a house fire in Seattle over the weekend in which the bodies of a woman and two children were also found.
Salvatore Ragusa died from smoke inhalation, and his death was ruled a suicide, the medical examiner said Tuesday. No information has yet been released about the deaths of the woman, child and infant.
Court records show Ragusa had for years navigated the county’s criminal justice and mental health systems, starting with a suicide threat in 2019, The Seattle Times reported.
On Saturday, a child escaped the house in the city’s Wallingford neighborhood through a window and contacted a neighbor, according to the Seattle Police Department. Someone called 911 and reported a person had died in the home that was burning. Seattle police said officers tried to enter the home, but the doors were barricaded.
Fire crews found the bodies of four people and a dog after extinguishing the flames. Initial reports indicated someone may have fired a gun around the time the fire started, but police haven’t said whether there was a shooting. Police haven’t released any further information about the investigation.
In 2019, Ragusa set fire to his ex-wife’s apartment in the Queen Anne neighborhood, according to Seattle police. More than 100 people had to evacuate the six-story building, and police negotiated with him for hours as he had threatened suicide. No one was injured.
Ragusa later pleaded guilty to reckless burning and malicious mischief and entered the county Regional Mental Health Court.
It’s not yet clear if the ex-wife identified in court records is a victim of Saturday’s fire.