SAN FRANCISCO—Around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 25, San Francisco Police officers found a corpse burning amidst a pile of debris on Russ Street, a side street between Mina and Natoma Streets. 

The officers were patrolling the South of Market neighborhood. San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Sergeant Anthony Pedroza told CBS, “Officers on patrol saw a fire, thought it was a debris fire. 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.”

Reportedly, paramedics, firefighters, and an arson investigator were called to the scene. Police checked nearby buildings for surveillance cameras which may have captured evidence.  

The SFPD Major Crimes Division is investigating the incident as a suspicious death. The victim is unidentified and the act has not yet been categorized as an accident or a malicious act. At this time, no additional information has been released.

According to the SFPD Crime Dashboard, the rate of arson in San Francisco has increased by 41.2 percent since 2019. From January 1 to October 18 of 2020, there have been 250 reported incidents, compared to 177 last year. Additional crime rates that have increased over the year include homicide, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. Conversely, there have been significant decreases in rates of  rape, robbery, assault, human trafficking, and larceny theft.