Dad bought fireworks days before mansion fire

Carrollwood, FL -- Investigators are still working to determine if was indeed the Campbell family who were found dead in a house fire.

Darrin, Kimberly, Megan and Colin Campbell were renting the Avila mansion when it went up in flames early Wednesday morning.

The teenage children, Megan and Colin, both went to Carrollwood Day School. The school has contacted the crisis center of Tampa Bay to help students through the grieving process.

Megan's friends say that she was very active in the community and that she was involved in jazz and dance classes.

Colin known as a baseball standout, getting ready for graduation. His coach told us the teen had a bright future and may have made it to the pros.

"Our hearts go out to the family in connection with this tragedy. We have grief counselors on site and we are rallying around our students, faculty, and families," the school said in a statement.

Parents Kimberly and Darrin Campbell were also well received in the community. Kimberly's father Gordon Lambie lives in Michigan. He spoke with 10 News over the phone and said he believes his daughter is no longer with us, even though it has not been confirmed.

"It's a tremendous loss and it's just hard to explain... she was a very vivacious young woman, had many many friends," said Lambie. "She was very active and very devoted to the kids."

Darrin's company, Vastec Incorporated, released a statement that reads in part:

"We are greatly saddened to learn the news regarding our Chief Operating Officer, Darrin Campbell, and the Campbell family. This is a difficult time for all involved and we are trying to cope with this news. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to friends and family members during this time of grief."

Darrin Campbell was also on the board of trustees and a treasurer at Carrollwood Day school.

Father bought fireworks days before blaze

An executive with a fireworks company says Darrin Campbell bought more than a dozen items from a store a few days ago.

William Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks, said Thursday that Darrin purchased the fireworks Sunday.

Neighbors told police they heard explosions coming from the home. Police think the fire was intentionally set and that an accelerant was used, but they haven't said who started the fire or why.

Weimer says Campbell bought six packages of firecrackers and about that many packs of aerial fireworks. He says the fireworks could have started a fire, but it would have spread slowly, and that the amount of powder inside the fireworks is smaller than the size of an aspirin.

'We know nothing of any problems'

Darrin and Kimberly met in Lansing, Michigan, when they both worked as legislative aides in the state legislature. Kimberly Campbell had graduated from Central Michigan University and Darrin Campbell had an MBA from the University of Michigan, Lambie said.

They had lived in San Antonio, Texas, where Darrin Campbell was an executive with Pearl Brewing Company before they moved to the Tampa area around 2001 so he could take a job with Anchor Glass Container Corp.

They sold their previous home but wanted to live in a place close to their children's school, so they signed a two-year lease for tennis star James Blake's home, which was close enough for the teens to walk to school, Lambie said.

Police said the family had been living there for about two years. Neither deputies nor the Department of Children and Families had been called to the home, officials said.

A former neighbor, George Connley, said they were a nice family. He said that Kimberly Campbell was "sophisticated and classy."

"We know nothing of any problems," Connley said. "The kids were outstanding children. This is very difficult to put our arms around."

At one time, Darrin Campbell was the senior vice president at PODS, a company that provides mobile, temporary shipping and storage containers. According to his LinkedIn profile, he left PODS in 2007 and was a vice president at IVANS, an insurance company.

IVANS was purchased by another company and Campbell no longer worked there, said Matt Fogt, a spokesman for the new company, Applied Systems.

The fire at the more-than-6,000-square-foot home north of downtown Tampa was reported about 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Blake bought the home in the Avila subdivision in 2005 for $1.5 million, according to Hillsborough County property records.

Avila is an exclusive enclave known for its mansions and heavy security. Many well-known athletes call the community home and over the years, various football, baseball and tennis players have bought homes in the subdivision, which has a country club and golf course.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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