Thongsavanh Sphabmixay, accused of purposefully burning a house in Mira Mesa, has been booked in jail for his alleged crime. NBC 7 reporter Brandi Powell talks to neighbors at the scene of the incident.
Two women have died after a family member allegedly set a house on fire in Mira Mesa on Thursday morning.
Firefighters were called to a home on Featherhill Lane in Mira Mesa at 1:36 a.m. where they found a fire had broken out in an upstairs television room.
“As our crews entered, they encountered a lot of heat and some fire on the second floor,” said Maurice Luque, spokesperson for San Diego Fire Rescue Department. “A lot of the blinds and other items were melted from the heat but there wasn’t a lot of fire damage on the second story."
Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters found a man on the curb who told them there were two people still inside the home. The man had a slight injury to his foot, Luque said. San Diego police officers questioned the man about the fire.
Inside the home, crews found two women – Boakham and Pamela Sphabmixay – unresponsive in two upstairs rooms. Crews performed CPR on the women at the scene and transported them to the UCSD burn center.
The mother, 69-year-old Boakham, and her 48-year-old daughter Pam succumbed to their injuries on Friday around 4 p.m., according to officials and a hospital spokesperson.
According to detectives, the house fire appeared suspicious in nature from the start. The arson team was called to investigate the home and officials determined arson was likely the cause of the fire.
The home is now considered a crime scene.
The mother's son, Thongsavath Sphabmixay, 43, was arrested on suspicion of arson and attempted murder. It is unclear if the son is the same man that firefighters found on the curb upon arrival at the home.
He was booked into San Diego Central Jail on seven charges, including arson of an inhabited structure. He's scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
Officials say a witness saw the suspect leave the home right after the fire started. He returned to the house shortly thereafter, according to the witness.
“Some witness indication that he was there, left after the fire and then returned later,” said Lt. Jorge Duran with San Diego police. “We want to talk with him about why he left, where he went, what happened right before the fire started -- those types of questions.”
According to court documents, Thongsavath has a past criminal record. Police also have visited the Mira Mesa home before.
Court documents obtained by NBC 7 show that in 2002, Thongsavath admitted to stealing a car from HERTZ and driving under the influence of a controlled substance. He spent time at the George Bailey Detention Facility.
He was granted probation in December 2002 for five years, but violated his probation at least once, according to court documents.
Late on Thursday night, Luque confirmed that the fire had caused $100,000 in structural damages to the home and $50,000 in damages to the contents inside the home. Luque said the fire remains under investigation.