IC: Body Found on Ranch

DALLAS - A man's body was found near several burning buildings on a Wheatland Road ranch early this morning.

The body, which has yet to be identified, has been sent to the Dallas County Coroner's office for identification and autopsy.

The circumstances surrounding the man's death and the cause of the fire are under investigation.

Fire Chief Mason Larchmont said that the fires - which destroyed a total of three structures - may have been arson. Detective Ocho with the Dallas Police Department said that he's uncertain if the man's death and the fires are related, but that a criminal investigation is being conducted to rule out any possibility of foul play.

The ranch had been abandoned for years, but neighbors on a nearby property spotted the flames early Wednesday morning, and summoned firefighters who responded to the 6 a.m. call to find the fire engulfing an old ranch home, a barn, and a bunk house.

Detective Ocho said firefighters discovered the man's body in the hay field next to the bunkhouse. He had apparently suffered a great deal of trauma, possibly from a thresher accident. A thresher was found in the middle of the hay field but looked as though it hadn't been used in weeks.

Larchmont said they had no chance to save any of the structures. "We tried to contain it. The buildings were already gone when we got there. There was nothing we could do."

Downed electrical lines from Tuesday's storms forced firefighters to delay their approach to the burning structures until TXU crews arrived to turn off the power.

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