OAKLAND -- A man and a woman believed to be homeless died in a two-alarm fire Monday morning at a vacant four-unit apartment complex in East Oakland that had been the scene of two fires earlier this year.

Authorities are trying to identify the two and determine who their next of kin is before releasing their names.

The fire erupted about 1:13 a.m. Monday in a lower unit of the fourplex in the 6200 block of Eastlawn Street where the couple were apparently living.

Authorities believe the two killed were homeless. They were found by firefighters during the fire and were pronounced dead at the scene.

An apartment building that was heavily damaged in an early morning fire that killed two people is seen on Eastlawn Street in Oakland on Dec. 28, 2015.
An apartment building that was heavily damaged in an early morning fire that killed two people is seen on Eastlawn Street in Oakland on Dec. 28, 2015. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)

Firefighters and police said the entire complex was supposed to be vacant. There had been two previous fires at the building earlier this year and there was no power to any of the apartments, Battalion fire Chief Coy Justice said.

It took 33 firefighters until 1:45 a.m. to control the fire. No firefighters were injured.

Justice said investigators are trying to determine what started the fire.

Investigators are trying to contact the owner of the property who did not show up at the scene while firefighters were there, authorities said.

Staff writer Harry Harris contributed to this report. Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH



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