9-year-old girl and her grandfather are identified as 2 found dead after La Jolla house fire

Fire destroyed a home in the 2500 block of Caminito La Paz in La Jolla on Aug. 10. Two bodies were found inside.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The San Diego County medical examiner’s office has identified two people found dead after a La Jolla house fire early Aug. 10 as 80-year-old Robert Keefe and 9-year-old Angie Keefe, his granddaughter.

The fire was reported at about 3:45 a.m. at a two-story house in the 2500 block of Caminito La Paz, a dead-end street off Hidden Valley Road south of La Jolla Parkway, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Crews arrived to find the home fully engulfed in flames, and a second-alarm response was requested shortly after 4 a.m. Nearby homes were evacuated as crews battled the blaze.

After the fire was extinguished, firefighters searched the damaged home and discovered two bodies inside.

Both victims died of “thermal injuries with inhalation of products of combustion,” according to the medical examiner’s office.

Two residents were found dead after a two-alarm fire ripped through a La Jolla home early Aug. 10, authorities said.

According to the report, Angie lived with her mother and sister in San Diego but the two girls were spending the night with their father and grandfather at the La Jolla home. The report stated that Angie had autism.

“[Angie’s] father was downstairs smoking by the fireplace while she and her sister were asleep in an upstairs bedroom,” according to the report. “The decedent’s father said that he poured kerosene on a T-shirt and burned it in the fireplace, then fell asleep. He was awoken at approximately 3:40 [a.m.], when the fire spread to the living room. He attempted to put out the fire but was unsuccessful.

“The father stated that he ran to the back of the home and yelled for the children to jump. The decedent’s 11-year-old sister jumped into her father’s arms from the second floor, but the decedent remained in her bed.”

Robert Keefe had “mobility problems and it was difficult for him to walk,” the report stated. Firefighters found his remains next to his bed.

Paramedics took the 11-year-old and her father to UCSD Medical Center, where they were treated for minor injuries.

Damage to the structure was estimated at $750,000, with $250,000 damage to the contents, according to Alec Phillipp, spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Phillipp declined to answer questions about whether the home had working smoke detectors or fire extinguishers, citing an ongoing investigation by the Metro Arson Strike Team.

According to real estate websites, the four-bedroom, three-bathroom home was built in 1990 and was nearly 3,000 square feet. Zillow pegged its value at just over $2 million.

Neighbor Pat Nissan said she had known Robert Keefe, who went by Bob, for about four decades and had lived in the house next door for 23 years.

Nissan said she wasn’t super close with Keefe but described him as “friendly and warm.”

Keefe, a retired pathologist, had privileges at Sharp Grossmont Hospital from 1972 until 2001, according to a hospital spokesman.

The San Diego Union-Tribune contributed to this report.