Firefighters rushed to a home that caught on fire in Lemon Grove Saturday morning.
The two-alarm blaze began just after 11 a.m. at a duplex in the 7200 block of Central Avenue.
Heartland Fire & Rescue Chief Rick Sitta said the duplex was well-involved in flames and smoke by the time crews arrived. The fire had also spread to an adjoining residence in the front and crews worked quickly to contain the blaze and prevent it from spreading any further.
Chief Sitta said eight engines, two trucks and crews from Lemon Grove, La Mesa, Chula Vista, San Diego and Cal Fire assisted in tackling the blaze. Firefighters were able to knock it down by 11:27 a.m.
Fire dispatchers had initially said that a person was trapped inside the home at the time of the fire. Chief Sitta confirmed that resident was able to get out of the house.
Sonny Saghera of Heartland Fire & Rescue said the man needed assistance getting out of the home due to physical limitations.
He was transported to UCSD Medical Center with minor injuries including possible smoke inhalation. His current condition is unknown.
Chief Sitta said several animals were also involved in the house fire. At least two pet cats were overcome by the smoke and killed, he said. Two dogs were able to escape the fire and get out safely, Saghera confirmed.
Chief Sitta said the structure and surrounding homes sustained significant damage. Saghera said estimated damages to the three affected homes and their contents is $300,000.
The Red Cross was called to assist two displaced families, including five adults, two kids and two dogs, officials said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Lemon Grove resident Juan Rosales, who lives in the front home that was also impacted in the fire, said he called 911 after seeing heavy smoke and hearing screams coming from his neighbor’s house.
Rosales told NBC 7 he was getting ready for work and putting his stuff in his car when he heard two “pops” and saw the flames.
“I heard my neighbor yell for someone to call the fire department,” said Rosales. “I was scared.”
Rosales evacuated his dogs from his home and waited a couple minutes for fire crews to arrive. He was thankful for the swift response from firefighters.
Another neighbor, Josh Workman, said he heard some sort of small explosion and then saw flames. He helped his neighbor get out of the burning building.
“A house is a house, but people are people. I’m just glad no one is hurt,” Workman told NBC 7.