A natural gas leak near a water heater caused a La Jolla home to explode into flames Tuesday night.
Neighbors say flames shot 30 to 40 feet into the air.
"A boom. It kind of startled us," Mount Soledad resident John McCusker said as he described what happened when his neighbor's home burst into a raging house fire around 9:30 p.m.
"About 10 seconds later, through my front door, I could see a bright light coming through," he said.
Firefighters say the explosion that shook neighbors near Soledad Road and Thunderbird Lane was accidental.
Maryann McCusker said at one point she saw the man who rents the home running from the fire. He was spotted later, uninjured, talking with San Diego police.
She and her husband John said they could feel the heat from across the street.
They along with other neighbors were very worried that the flames would spread to nearby homes.
Firefighters calmed those fears by quickly dousing the flames. By 10 p.m., the fire was knocked down. No injuries were reported.
No other homes were damaged.
The natural gas leak was in such a confined space in the garage, the water heater’s pilot light ignited the blast firefighters said.
According to San Diego Fire Rescue spokesperson Maurice Luque, homeowners need to remember when they smell natural gas, it’s important to get out right away.
The flick of a light switch or activation of a garage door opened can cause a similar explosion according to Luque.