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Fire victim now a murder victim

Montgomery County police said they are investigating the death of 63-year old Gaithersburg resident Steven Skalabrin as a homicide after the townhouse he had been living in caught fire on March 29.

Police accompanied firefighters to the scene at 1812 Windjammer Way. There two of the Skalabrin’s roommates, who escaped the fire, told firefighters there was possibly a third roommate in the basement of the townhouse.

Emergency personnel were able to recovery Skalabrin’s body on March 30, when it was sent to the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy.

Police said they are investigating Skalabrin’s death as a homicide, according to Capt. Darren Francke, of the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division. Francke noted that he is unable to release any details from his investigation.

“But what I will tell you is that we are currently investigating this as a suspicious death and we are treating it as a homicide,” Francke said. “Again, we treat all of our suspicious deaths as homicides.”

On March 31, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy according to Francke. Results from the autopsy on Skalabrin have yet to become public.

Montgomery County Police Information Officer Rick Goodale said that police could not release any other information other than saying evidence at the scene was not consistent with what the police typically find for deaths caused by fires.

About 100 firefighters were able to control the fire in less than hour, said Dee Howard Richard, battalion chief for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.

Richards said no other people were injured in the fire.

@neal_earley

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