2 More Fire Victims Identified

CATHEDRAL CITY — Police on Thursday released the identities of fire victims who died earlier this month when flames engulfed a commercial building in Cathedral City that once housed the Elks Club.

The 37-year-old woman was identified as Josee Vanbuskirk of Wasilla, Alaska/Cathedral City and the 51-year-old man was identified as 51-year-old Danial Burr of Palm Springs/Cathedral City, according to the Cathedral City Police Department.

“Over the past several days the Riverside County Coroner’s Office has worked diligently in identifying the victims lost in the fire, as well as locating and notifying their families,” Commander Julio Luna said in a statement. “As of the time of this release, all but one of the families affected have been notified. The police department continues with efforts to locate the family of Danial Burr but has not been successful

Phillip Pape, 46, of Cathedral City was previously identified by the Riverside County coroner’s office.

The fire was reported at 7:05 a.m. Saturday, at 67491 E. Palm Canyon Drive, at or near the Canyon Plaza Shopping Center, according to Cathedral City police Sgt. Jose Nunez. Arriving officers found the structure engulfed in flames.

“As officers moved around the building, they could hear people inside,” he wrote. “Officers attempted to enter the building, but due to the heavy smoke and flames were unable to enter the building.”

Cathedral City firefighters arrived and entered the building, where they located and removed two people and provided emergency medical aid, according to Nunez. One was taken to Eisenhower Medical Center in critical condition, but the other succumbed to his injuries on the scene.

The injured person was identified by police as 37-year-old Jonathan Ochoa of Palm Springs/Cathedral City. No information was immediately available on his condition.

Firefighters searched the building again after the flames were out and found that two other people had died inside the building, Nunez said. The cause of the fire is sunder investigation.

A listing on Zillow indicated the nearly 18,000-square-foot building was up for sale, listed at more than $3.5 million.

Anyone with additional information on the fire was asked to email CCPD Arson Investigator Rick Osbourne at rosbourne@cathedralcity.gov or call the department at 760-770-0300.

Image Sources

  • Cathedral City fire: Chip Yarborough