WOODLAND, Wash. -- A 62-year-old man who was found dead after firefighters put out a small house fire in Woodland Tuesday morning has been identified.
The man was identified as Donald William Howard. An autopsy concluded he died of blunt force head injuries. His death has been ruled a homicide.
Firefighters from Clark County Fire and Rescue arrived at the house at 2145 Dahlia Street in Woodland on Tuesday morning.
Investigators with the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office believe the fire was intentionally set.
After putting out the small fire, crews discovered Howard's body, determined the evidence at the scene was suspicious and contacted police, said Woodland Police Sgt. Brad Gillaspie.
“It’s just like, oh my god! You know? I've actually dealt with death in my former profession as an oncology nurse, so I have a spiritual look towards death but, to have it happen right here, in tragic circumstances, it's just devastating. And it does make your stomach drop,” said neighbor Connie Kingrey.
“He kind of kept to himself, but had some relationships here. It's just really sad that someone would do that to him, of all people.”
Anyone with information about the incident has been asked to call Sheriff Department Sgt. Brad Thurman at 360-577-3092.