Firefighters in the East County had their hands full Christmas Eve with what they initially thought was just an illegal burn. But it didn't take long to realize it was raging house fire. NBC 7’s Steven Luke reports.
A fire left an Alpine house in ruins Tuesday morning.
The fire started around 8:15 a.m. Christmas Eve in the 400 block of Arnold Way.
Initially reported as a possible illegal burn, the house was fully engulfed when crews arrived. Aerial pictures showed flames shooting through the roof and smoke pouring into the sky.
The fire took about 20 minutes to knock down, according to Alpine Fire Division Chief Brad Rushing.
“We were able get a crew on the roof and cut a hole. Our interior crews on the inside were able to pull the ceilings down and stop the fire in the attic,” Rushing explained.
No one was injured. The home was a rental property, and the tenants weren’t there when the fire started, according to fire officials.
The homeowners didn’t want to talk on camera, but they say they are insured and relieved that everyone was safe.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but fire officials say at this point, it appears accidental.
Heartland Fire told NBC 7 that downed power lines were spotted near the house.
Neighbor Judy Dennett says she noticed the fire when she went outside to tend to her hummingbirds.
“I could smell the smoke. I knew it wasn’t just somebody’s fireplace,” she said.
For Dennett, Tuesday’s fire hits close to home.
“We lost our home in the Cedar Fire, and you don’t forget that,” she said.
“I’m just sorry it was Christmas.”
The California Highway Patrol and San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies were on scene providing traffic control.The Red Cross was also there to assist the family.
“That’s what we’re there to provide assistance for,” said Madison Victor with the Red Cross. “Making sure people are able to get through those first couple days to be able to move on from the disaster that has affected their lives.”
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