A North County home worth more than $2 million erupted into flames Monday evening. The two alarm fire happened just after 6 p.m. at a 7000 square foot home in the 13000 block of Via Serena in Poway.
The home belongs to Dr. Scott Harman and his family. Harman is a well known Poway resident who ran for city council in 2004. Neither he or his wife and two teenage sons were home when the fire started, said fire officials.
The fire broke out in a back room near an indoor gym. Firefighters quickly responded and doused the blaze within a half an hour as Copter One flew overhead. The fire and rescue chopper was called out to the scene as a precaution in case the flames jumped to nearby vegetation or homes.
Nearby residents saw the smoke and some panicked. "I didn't know what to do, I didn't know what was going on,"said Ashley Stecher. "There was just so much smoke coming from the home."
Other neighbors say the Harman's youngest son was the first to find the fire and tried to put it out with buckets of water. The high school senior is set to graduate this Thursday.
"It's just really sad, they're a really nice family," said neighbor Karen Pado. She said Dr. Harman's wife Catherine, is a home decorator and personally customized the family home herself. "It was a gorgeous beautiful home, I feel really horribly for them."
The family is also personal friends with Poway Fire Department Division Chief Garry MacPherson. He was called out to the scene and comforted family members who became emotional. "We're going to do everything we can to help them through this tragedy,"MacPherson said.
At least one room was destroyed by the blaze. The home also suffered major water and smoke damage. Fire investigators hadn't released an official cause Monday, but neighbors said the family believes it was started by an unattended candle.