Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Digging For Details At A Fatal Fire, 1426 Barnes Place...

Artsy stock photo, blog post by John Hoff

Dakota County mugshot, therefore public domain, whether this is the same Sergio Marquez Geuvara is unconfirmed

Though I've lived in North Minneapolis for a good while, now, I'd never heard of a street called "Barnes Place." Recently, there was a fire at 1426 Barnes Pl. and a man died there.

(Interestingly, a Star Tribune story described the fire as being on the "1400 block of Barnes Place," but then the photo accompanying the story clearly identified it as "1426 Barnes Place." I guess the quaint "dead tree media" artifice of identifying crime and tragedy scenes by block number is starting to show some cracks at the Star Tribune)

Trying to dig up information about the property and who might have died there, I looked at the city's property records...

The house at 1426 Barnes Pl. is owned by Alice Cerventes, but appears to be controlled by a "special needs" trust. It's been on the "vacant and boarded" list since 3/23/2010.

Despite the fact it's been vacant since March of 2010, as recently as August 3 of this year somebody was using the property as their official address. I found this out by searching the address and seeing my own jail roster posting pop up.

(I must say, lately I've been having great luck with my jail roster "data preservation" when I search a name or address on Google. It's like the roster has reached a kind of "critical mass" and nuggets within the massive bolus of data have achieved a high degree of relevance)

Well, here's what turned up:

2011020487 MARQUEZ-GUEVARA, SERGIO.NMN 6/6/1965 1426 BARNES PLACE, MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55411 8/3/2011.10:31

It's old data, so I'm not sure what he was charged with.

An individual with the same name turns up on the Dakota County jail website which has mug shots. (So informative! We should get that in Hennepin County) "Sergio Marquez Guevara" was charged with driving after revocation on September 30 of this year. However, maddeningly, the space for "date of birth" has been left blank. Thus, the key piece of info which could link one Sergio Marquez Guevara to the other can't be located.

However, the mugshot looks like somebody who may have been born in 1965. Furthermore, note the hair and the odd mark on the face. Sure looks like somebody who might sleep in a vacant house. Also, the former owner of the house had a Hispanic surname. So does this guy. It may be he was squatting at the house but had a semi-valid claim for being there. Like it was his sister's old place.

That is to say...

IF this was the guy killed at the house. That's totally unconfirmed.

It would be something, though, if this mystery of identity could be solved all the way from a mud, straw and goat poo fortress in Afghanistan, with nothing more than information left laying around the internet.

Take that, Star Tribune, and your not-quite-satisfying "block number journalism."


Anonymous said...

John, it's 1206pm (noon) on Thursday December 1st. Where you are, soon, it will be December 2nd, your birthday. So I wish you a happy birthday, wherever you are. I hope you are happy and well cared for and safe. Of course I wish circumstances were different and that you were here with me and we could celebrate together. There should be things arriving there on a somewhat regular basis, so take the most recent, or the next package and call it your birthday gift. Happy 46th. xoxo.

NoMi Passenger said...

Here is a follow up Strib article that says the man was homeless and made a fire to stay warm, where he then died by carbon monoxide poisoning.


Deadly Minneapolis fire was set by victim to keep himself warm

A homeless man who died in a house fire early Wednesday was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning after he started a fire to keep himself warm, Minneapolis fire officials said Thursday.

The man, who has not been identified, was found unconscious on the first floor of the abandoned house at 1426 Barnes Place after the fire was reported at 12:30 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

The man was simply trying to stay warm and had built a fire on a bedroom floor. The bonfire weakened the bedroom floor, and two firefighters were hurt when they fell through the floor and into the basement, fire officials said. Their injuries were minor.

The department's Community Risk Reduction Officer, Casidy Anderson, urged people to call 911 if they suspect someone is living in an abandoned house.

Here are some signs to watch for that may indicate someone is living in a vacant/boarded building or house:

• Boards pulled off the window and/or door frames (on boarded up buildings)

• Unconventional means of entering and exiting the structure - such as through a window.

• Strange or unpleasant odors emanating from the structure

• Different vehicles parked on or in front of the property

• Lights on at different hours


NoMi Passenger said...

There is a blog troll who doesn't get comment publication because they are hateful and also used a name as if they WERE the Strib... but they assert that the victim of this fire was "a black male named Locious Varnado. And he dies of smoke inhalation, not carbon monoxide poisoning as was previously thought. He was squatting in the house."

To which I reply: your commentary about the speculation is not neccessary because John declared he was not claiming this mentioned man was the victim, he was merely pointing out that this man has used that address before when booked into jail, clearly the house was a flop house for homeless, so it's not surprising. Perhaps this man mentioned in the blog post was present when the fire was lit, and this man escaped and the victim you name did not escape. Ever thought of that?

Anonymous said...

Wow, your star trib article signs to look out for seem like the guy used that light blue house with all the boards on it at N 24th Ave and Fremont. I swear somebody is holed up in that old house.

Anonymous said...

Snap - looks like your blog troll had it right after all. Just read a small article on b2 of the star tribune.

NoMi Passenger said...

Dear Snap, I never said the troll was wrong. I just didn't publish the troll comment because it was written from a place of hate for John rather than just discussing the issues. And the troll used a name as if they were pretending to be the Star Tribune. LoL. As if "the" Star Tribune made a blogspot profile and goes around the internet commenting on things. Cute.

So that is why I cut and pasted the substanitive parts of the troll comment.

Bye Snap!

The Last Laugh said...

So John. We have it documented that you call yourself a blogger, and that you have stated that this is a "blog", and readers should consider the source.

So I just want to publicly state:


Read this:

Johnny Northside! said...

I did a Google search for Locious Varnado and the only hit was this discussion. I will check to see if his name turns up in the Hennepin County courts system.

Is there a link to this alleged and purported STrib article naming one "Locious Varnado" as the victim?

And, to totally agree with NoMi Passenger, this blog has merely pointed out the connections between this man and the house in question.

Johnny Northside! said...

The name "Locious Varnado" does not turn up in online court records.

Johnny Northside! said...

Here's what happens when I search the Star Tribune:

Search results for "Locious Varnado"

Recent content All content
Advanced Search

Your recent content search for Locious Varnado did not match any documents.
No pages from the last 60 days were found containing "Locious Varnado".
Search instead for all content containing "Locious Varnado".

Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
Try different keywords.
Try more general keywords.

Johnny Northside! said...

To The Last Laugh.

Read THIS quote by Crystal Cox.

“That Being Said I want to say that … with every fiber of my being, as the saying goes, I do believe that Kevin Padrick acted unethically and even illegally as a Trustee in a Federal Bankruptcy Proceeding and I intend to keep telling my story until an impartial investigation is done…” she wrote on her site.

Here's a link to her blog,

And allow me to add:

Jerry Moore was involved in a high profile, fraudulent mortgage at 1564 Hillside Ave. N.

Johnny Northside! said...

Back Channel Comment to NoMi Passenger:

YES YES YES have him get on board now that you have confirmed that very important a$pect of his involvement.