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Updated Dec 14, 2013 - 6:29 pm

Hospital: Chief surgeon found dead in Arizona fire

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. -- The chief of surgery of an Arizona hospital halfway between Phoenix and Tucson is among three people found dead in a house fire, hospital officials said Saturday.

Joyce Bonenberger, her husband, Dennis, and 11-year-old son Trevor were found in the Friday fire, Karen Kerr-Osman, Casa Grande Regional Medical Center spokeswoman, said in a statement. The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said Dennis Brough, 50, and Joyce Bonenberger Brough, 51, owned the home.

Medical examiners say they still need to confirm the identities of the bodies through dental records.

Police and arson investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire in a single-story home in a subdivision northeast of Casa Grande. It wasn't clear if the victims died in the fire or beforehand.

Rona Curphy, the hospital's CEO and president, said in the statement that Bonenberger was a beloved member of the staff.

"She will be remembered for her sense of humor, willingness to train medical students, and her interest in improving the lives of her patients through surgical interventions," Curphy said.

The hospital says Bonenberger had been employed since 1999 and its chief of surgery since 2004.

Bonenberger was one of the physicians who helped pioneer a breakthrough treatment for early-stage breast cancer, the hospital said. It involves the surgical removal of a breast tumor, immediately followed by a therapeutic dose of radiation, according to hospital officials.

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