2 people, 2 cats found dead in Berkeley apartment; cause unknown

First responders are in the 3000 block of Deakin Street but details are slim. Photo: Sean Rouse

Update, Jan. 24, 1 p.m. Police have identified the two people who died in their apartment Monday as Roger and Valerie Morash. Read more on Berkeleyside.

Original story, Jan. 23, 3:53 p.m. Berkeley police and firefighters are on the scene at 3028 Deakin St. to investigate the mysterious deaths of two people and two cats.

The block has been closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic due to the ongoing investigation, Berkeley Police spokesman Officer Byron White said at about 3:40 p.m.

Authorities were called to the scene at about 1 p.m. for a suspicious circumstance. The address is a four-plex on Deakin Street near Webster Street.


The response included police, an ambulance, a fire engine and a BFD battalion chief and the Berkeley Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team, according to photographs shared with Berkeleyside by a local resident.

Officers and detectives are now on scene trying to determine what led to the deaths, said White.

“We don’t know what the cause is,” he said. “It’s nothing apparent at this point.”

The hazmat team and PG&E were called to the scene to measure for unsafe levels of gas or other problems, but have so far found nothing, White said.

The building was evacuated “out of an abundance of caution,” he added. Deakin is currently closed between Prince and Webster streets.

The initial caller reportedly told police he went into an apartment to find a male who was unresponsive as well as more than one dead cat, according to scanner recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside.

Berkeley firefighters ultimately found two people dead inside one apartment, and evacuated the entire building until further investigation could be done as to the cause.


White said the case is still under investigation. He confirmed that both victims were adults but said no further information was immediately available.

Deputy Fire Chief Dave Brannigan said, at about 4:30 p.m., there was no indication based on the preliminary investigation and analysis that carbon monoxide poisoning had played a role in the fatalities.

Brannigan confirmed that BFD got the initial call, about someone at the address appearing to be unconscious. When they found the second person who had died as well as the dead animals, it was clear further investigation needed to be done.

“The hazmat team has not found anything that indicates what has happened,” he said, “so the police are investigating the circumstances.”

The case will likely go to the coroner’s office next for further analysis.

First responders are in the 3000 block of Deakin Street but details are slim. Photo: Sean Rouse
First responders are in the 3000 block of Deakin Street but details are slim. Photo: Sean Rouse

This story was updated at about 4:30 p.m. with remarks from the Berkeley Fire Department.