1 Dead, 100 Evacuated After Fire in Spring Valley

Dozens of people were evacuated in the moments after fire broke out

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    An aerial image shows fire engines and lights in the complex parking lot.

    Late Friday officials were investigating into a fire that left an elderly man dead, another injured and evacuated 100 people  as it tore through an apartment complex in Spring Valley earlier in the day.

    The blaze was first reported in the 3500 block of Sweetwater Springs Boulevard and Del Rio Road at about 5:30 a.m., officials said.

    1 Dead in Spring Valley Fire

    [DGO] 1 Dead in Spring Valley Fire
    One person was killed, another injured and dozens evacuated when fire tore through an apartment complex in Spring Valley early Friday. (Published Friday, Oct. 14, 2011)

    Law enforcement officers and firefighters called the fire a "bizarre situation."

    A San Miguel fire spokesperson said fire crews arrived to the Rancho Pointe apartments and attempted to enter the unit engulfed in flames but had to retreat. "The flames were too hot" said Leonard Villarreal with San Miguel Fire Department.

    Inside the unit, firefighters found the body of one person. However, it's unclear if the person died from the fire or before the fire started.

    Some evacuees reported feeling sick, and an odor was detected by a hazmat team who was called in to investigate. In the end the smell turned out to be common household products, officials said.

    Four units in total were affected by the fire and four people were taken to an area hospital after they experienced trouble breathing, according to a media release.

    The San Diego chapter of the American Red Cross was on hand to help those who had been forced out of their homes, providing blankets, breakfast and clothes.

    Investigators don't suspect foul play in the death of the elderly man and the cause of the blaze remains under investigation, according to a media release.

    Officials said arson has not yet been ruled out.

    There was no official word on the condition of the people transported to the hospital.