Body Found Burning in Pile of Debris on San Francisco Side Street

A body has been found burning in a pile of debris on a San Francisco side street.

Officers made the gruesome discovery around 4:30 a.m. Sunday while patrolling the South of Market area, CBS SF reports.

The body, found on Russ Street between Minna and Natoma streets, was initially thought to be burning debris.

"Officers on patrol saw a fire, thought it was a debris fire," San Francisco police Sgt. Anthony Pedroza told the publication. "They came up and saw it was a person. It was an obvious death to them. They called the paramedics... There are no witnesses yet."

Paramedics, firefighters and an arson investigator were called to the scene as police scoured nearby buildings to see if surveillance cameras may have recorded the incident.

The San Francisco Police Department has released scant details about the case, though the SFPD Major Crimes Division is said to be investigating the incident as a suspicious death.

San Francisco Investigations Commander Raj Vaswani said the case is still "under active investigation" in a tweet on Sunday.

The victim has yet to be identified and detectives are trying to establish how the person died and the motive behind the fire.

Police have not confirmed whether this was an accident or a malicious act.

Neighbors described the area as having a history of poverty, crime, homelessness and mental illness.

Until recently the area was home to a sprawling homeless camp where tents and tarps once dotted the street.

However, the makeshift housing was recently removed by the council.

"It actually kind of blows my mind that it happened a couple of feet right from where I sleep at, you know?" one man told CBS News.

The rate of arson in San Francisco has increased by 41.2 percent since 2019, according to the SFPD Crime Dashboard.

From January 1 to October 18 of 2020, there have been 250 reported incidents, compared to 177 last year, SF News reports.

The rates of homicide, burglary, and motor vehicle theft have all increased over the past year while rates of rape, robbery, assault, human trafficking, and larceny theft have seen significant decreases.

Newsweek has reached out to the San Francisco Police Department for comment.

Last week, a woman was jailed after the dismembered remains of a man were found in his San Francisco home.

The man was later identified as Benedict Ching and his daughter Stephanie Ching, 35, was charged with his murder.

She and her husband, Douglas Lomas, 45, fled to China last year after her father's severed head and body parts were found in the refrigerator at his Ingleside home in May last year.

The couple were immediately flown back to the U.S. to face murder and conspiracy charges.

Body found
Officers came across a body burning in debris around 4:30 a.m. Sunday on Russ Street between Minna and Natoma streets, San Francisco. Google Maps