COMPTON, Calif.–Sheriff’s homicide detectives today continued to investigate a “suspicious” fire at a two-story home in an unincorporated area near Compton that took the life of a 3-year-old boy.

The fire at 835 E. Lennon St. in the Rosewood section of the county east of Compton broke out around 4:30 p.m. Thursday and was brought under control at 5:11 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Damage was estimated at about $250,000.

Ivan Buggs died at a hospital, said coroner’s Chief Craig Harvey.

The boy’s 38-year-old mother was inside the home when the fire started and escaped with minor injuries.

She was “very upset … very despondent” as she was being questioned by homicide investigators Thursday night, said sheriff’s Lt. Mike Rosson, a member of the squad investigating the blaze.

The early indication is that she and the boy were upstairs, “and at some point the child went downstairs,” Rosson said.

The woman smelled smoke and tried to go down the stairs, but the ground floor was already “filled with smoke and heat,” he said, adding she then went out the balcony and returned in a futile effort to get inside.

The boy was later found by firefighters and taken to Memorial Hospital of Gardena, where he was pronounced dead.

The child’s demise is regarded as “a suspicious death,” according to a sheriff’s department statement. But the cause of the fire and its point of origin were not immediately determined.