Questions remain about victim, cause in deadly Bethesda house fire

Four days after a deadly house fire in Bethesda, investigators are still not sure what caused the blaze.

Firefighters found a man dead inside the basement of a home on Danbury Road Sunday afternoon. However, his identity has not yet been released and police officers are watching the house around the clock as crime scene tape and a steel fence are still placed around the property.

According to communications between police and firefighters responding to the home Sunday afternoon, there was a person trapped in the basement. When first responders were able to get inside, they determined the man was dead. His body was left inside the house until the medical examiner and police could examine the scene.

Neighbors on Danbury Road said they heard another man screaming for help and telling them that a person was in the basement and he could not get to him. The neighbors described this man, who survived the fire, as a 26-year-old who lives in the house alone. He was taken to the hospital suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.

However, one neighbor said she has seen this man in the neighborhood since and police said he is cooperating with the investigation.

But the mystery still surrounds the deceased victim. The medical examiner has not ruled on a cause or manner of death and the fire marshal has not determined a cause for the fire.

According to two sources familiar with the investigation, after authorities found the deceased man's body, they found a lot of items inside the basement. As they continued to investigate, they found what appeared to be a bunker. One source even described it as a series of tunnels inside the basement and under the house, and it came out to as far as the street. They also said there is a bed in there along with a computer.

Officially, police are calling this a death investigation, but there is intense curiosity in this neighborhood as to what happened.