CANOGA PARK - A day after a man was burned beyond recognition in a Canoga Park industrial complex, tenants surveyed the rubble Friday.
The acrid remains, pulled from two units, included a mountain of charred pornography. | PHOTOS
"What a nightmare, what the hell," said Rick Krueger, a motorcycle mechanic who worked nearby, gazing at blackened boxes of "Amateur Initiations" videos mingled with Chinese-made Christmas lights and Yankee Candle Tarts.
Coroner's officials on Friday said they still hadn't identified the badly burned corpse.
Meanwhile, firefighters were still investigating what caused the fire that engulfed three hole-in-the wall businesses early Thursday and injured a Los Angeles firefighter who fell from a 16-foot ladder.
The 2:10 a.m. blaze at 7832 Alabama Ave. was doused by 62 firefighters in 32 minutes.
The unnamed firefighter was treated and released, fire officials officials said Friday.
"No suspicious activity indicated this was an arson fire," said Los Angeles fire spokesman Shawn Leuske. "The cause is still under investigation. The monetary loss ... is still being tabulated."
But in the industrial swath just west of Canoga Avenue, business owners were deeply suspicious.
The fire destroyed three units in a cinder-block row containing seven garage door bays. It was in Unit 12, in the center, where firefighters said the fire started.
And where they'd found the incinerated remains.
The No. 12 tenant - who neighbors said appeared to have lived inside and whose Toyota was now a burned out hulk outside - has not been seen since.
A property manager refused to identify the tenant, described by business owners as a white, heavyset man in his 50s who always wore a camouflage vest.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles wasn't available to identify the Toyota's owner.
"The guy had a bunch of computers - two laptops on the desk ... connected to a bunch of wires," said David St. Louis, co-owner of D&A Royalty Beds, which handcarves bedsteads two two doors down. "In the back, he had something like a lab - bottles with white liquid with hoses.
"The guy never talked to anybody. He was ex-military. Tough."
Krueger, who worked at a motorcycle shop opposite the fire, said he had heard the man operated a solar panel lab. He was also there at any hour of the day or night, seven days a week.
"He was always there," he said. "It appeared that he lived in that little hole."
Two weeks ago, someone parked a car in front of Unit 12, he said, unaware that the tenant was home.
The motorist returned to find trash cans blocking his car - with an ax poised in view of the windshield.
"He was strange," Krueger said. "That's when I thought he was nuts. When the visitor confronted him, he just stared at him.
"Didn't say a word."