When City Heights resident Jose Delgado saw a grass fire burning in a canyon near his home, he jumped into action, warning nearby residents to get out of their homes and grabbing a hose to help take out the fire.
Delgado, 27, lives near Auburn Drive and Sterling Court where a grass fire broke out just before 9 a.m. Thursday. Flames were moving up a canyon toward apartments at the top of a hill.
He ran up the hill before firefighters arrived and tried to take out the fire by himself, according to his wife.
“When he ran, I was a little scared because I didn’t know where he was going so I ran after him,” said his wife Jasmine Delgado who admitted she wouldn’t have done the same.
The fire burned two acres and was put out in about 20 minutes but even fire experts say nearby residents are fortunate conditions were in their favor.
Had a breeze kicked up and pushed the fire into the trees, it would’ve really been a challenge according to San Diego Fire Rescue spokesperson Maurice Luque.
“It could’ve gotten pretty easily into the eucalyptus trees and threatened those apartments up there,” said Luque.
Between 40 and 50 firefighters responded. A helicopter performed one drop of water to help contain the fire.
The fire, considered suspicious according to Luque, did pose a threat to one home.
San Diego Fire Rescue responds quickly, almost an overreaction to fires in these canyon areas, according to Luque.
“It underscores the fact that even in damp, drizzly, cloudy conditions, fire can spread fairly quickly,” Luque said reminding homeowners to make sure they have 100 feet of defensible space around their homes during fire season.
Jasmine Delgado considers her husband a hero. “He tried to do it and got really sick for doing it,” she said.
Delgado suffered shortness of breath, fire officials said. His wife said he was nauseated and very pale. Emergency crews transported him to the hospital to get checked out.