More than a half-dozen fire engines responded to a massive fire at a large under-construction home in the East County Monday but flames had destroyed the home before crews could arrive.
Firefighters were first called to the home on a country road off of Harbison Canyon Road at about 6:20 a.m. but it was not clear exactly how long the fire had been raging at the vacant property.
When crews arrived, flames and heavy smoke were pouring from the roof. Crews began to attack the blaze but quickly realized the home was too far gone to save and instead switched to a defensive mode in order to ensure the fire didn't spread to any surrounding brush, Cal Fire spokesperson Issac Sanchez said.
"Because our first initial efforts weren’t going as successfully as we though they would be, we made the determination to go defensive on this," he said.
Firefighters with at least four different agencies were called to fight the massive blaze. On scene were nine fire engines, two truck companies and three water tenders.
The biggest problem for crews was lack of access to water, Sanchez said. Crews quickly drained the 10,000-gallon water tank that was located on the property.
"The big issue here was water, Sanchez said. "Because we are at a higher elevation from the closest fire hydrant, that certainly did play a challenge on this incident."
Crews had the fire knocked down within an hour but would remain on scene for several hours to mop up the mess.
It was not clear what caused the fire to spark in the first place. Arson investigators with Cal Fire and the San Diego County Fire Department were investigating the cause.