A mother of eight children, whose house was devoured by flames Tuesday, credits her husband for saving her and three of their children who were home at the time.
Virginia and Willy Dent and three of their eight children, aged eight, nine and 21, were at home when Willy Dent smelled smoke.
He rushed his family downstairs, according to his wife.
The fire started on the first floor of the house in the 1800 block of Crest Drive near Birmingham Drive at about 6.30 a.m. on Tuesday.
As the second story of the house started to collapse around 8 a.m., firefighters went from attack mode to defense mode as water from the firefighting efforts started gushing downhill towards other home.
Dozens of firefighters were on scene Tuesday morning, many of them working to secure nearby homes.
The smoke could be seen for at least ten miles.
The family escaped without injury, according to firefighters.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Firefighters originally estimated the damage at $400,000, but later increased their estimation to $600,000 to $800,000.
A neighbor has set up a fund for the family at the Wells Fargo in Encinitas on 277 N El Camino Real.
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