A mother and daughter died after a home in Mission Hills erupted into flames early Tuesday, San Diego Fire-Rescue officials confirmed.
The women, one of them described by a battalion chief as bed-ridden, lived in the home on Fort Stockton Drive.
Someone walking their dog called 911 just after 5 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they found the home engulfed in flames.
It was impossible and unsafe for crews to attack from inside the home so crews took a defensive position to protect nearby homes, fire officials said.
The intensity of the fire caused part of the roof to collapse.
The body of one victim was found near the front of the home, according to fire officials. The second victim was found in the back of the home.
"Search efforts were complicated and delayed because of the extensive fuel load, large fire involvement, and various portions of the structure collapsed," SDFD spokesperson Mónica Muñoz said.
There was a lot of furniture and hoarding conditions inside the home.
“The first thought I had was it’s probably that one (on Fort Stockton) because it’s so unkempt,” neighbor Holly Raley said. “It looked like it was falling down.”
"We do not know at this time if there was a smoke or carbon monoxide detection device in the home," Muñoz added.
The victims were mother and daughter and the deaths have sent shock waves through the quiet neighborhood. People who knew them say the mother and daughter rarely left the house.
Julia Lafferty said she woke up and looked across the street to see her neighbor’s home was engulfed in flames.
“Just absolutely terrifying. I’ve never seen a fire that big so close, right across the street from my house,” Lafferty said. “We actually started to gather a few personal belongings just in case, to be ready.”
The home to the left of the fire appeared to be undamaged. The home to the right was lined with a number of trees. It was unclear if that home has sustained any damage.
San Diego police blocked the street to all traffic including residents.
The neighborhood is located north of Washington Street and east of Interstate 5. Smoke from the fire was visible by commuters along I-5 and Interstate 8 to the north.