Several Fires Burn on Christmas Day

Firefighters say it's unusual to have so many fires burning on Christmas Day

By Michelle Wayland and Brandi Powell
|  Monday, Dec 26, 2011  |  Updated 6:14 PM PDT
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Several Fires Burn on Christmas Day

NBC San Diego

Flames devoured an apartment on E. Mission Avenue Sunday.

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Several Fires Burn Christmas Day

Firefighters say it's unusual to have so many fires burning on Christmas Day.

Several Fires Burn on Christmas Day

Four fires on Christmas Day kept firefighters in San Diego County pretty busy.
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Four fires on Christmas Day kept firefighters in San Diego County pretty busy.

Jason McComb left his apartment on East Mission Avenue in Escondido to visit his sister and nephew.

"We planned on cooking Christmas dinner," said McComb.

He was only a short walk away from home.

"Somebody told me my apartment was on fire and I ran down here and it was engulfed in flames," he said. “I don't know if I even have a place to live after today.”

But his main concern was his dogs.

"I wasn't even in there. I don't even how if the dogs made it out or if they're still in there. But the kids say they opened the door and somebody said they saw the dogs run out," said McComb. "I don't care about anything else. I just want my dogs back."

Crews were called to the unit on E. Mission Avenue just before 2 p.m. Sunday.

"There was a lot of damage too,” said Battalion Chief Ken Slaven. “The overhaul was fairly extensive."

Five other units were damaged by smoke and water.

"It could have been much worse," said Slaven.

Earlier in the day firefighters battled another fire at a single family residence on South Midway. The resident lost her dog in the fire, according to firefighters.

"Over my career I've seen some Christmas fires before… it's kind of unusual for us to have that many at one time,” said Slaven.

A third fire burned near Qualcomm Stadium. An entire complex was forced to evacuate around 11 a.m. in a unit on San Diego Mission Road.

Crews say the fire was contained to one apartment, but smoke spread throughout the second and third floors, forcing everyone to get out.

“I opened up some of my windows, grabbed my purse and dog and ran out. Saw white smoke coming from building, then black smoke. Then fire exploded through the roof, pieces of the roof and ashes and stuff,” said Esther Hilleli. 

It took crews about half an hour to put out the fire. No one was hurt.

In a fourth fire, eight people were left without a place to live at a complex on Adobe Falls Road. The fire started just after 8.30 a.m. Two units were heavily damaged. No one was hurt.

The causes of all four fires are under investigation.

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