A 76-year-old Lakeside man died Friday when his home caught fire.
Flames shot into the air above the single-story home on Emerald Hill Lane, off Woodside Avenue.
One family member was awake and in the living room of the home just after 4 a.m. when she noticed the fire and smoke. She woke up other people in the home.
As the family was heading out of the home, the homeowner returned to his bedroom, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office. He was later found in a back bedroom suffering from burns, according to the medical examiner.
The victim was identified Monday as Kenneth Owens, 76, of Lakeside. The cause and manner of death were pending.
The home had a significant amount of debris inside.
"They were encountering items and debris all the way through," said Lakeside Fire Division Chief John Hisaw.
The garage was stacked to the ceiling with items, making this a perilous situation.
"It’s not only difficult to locate the victims but it’s also difficult for our crew to get out of the building if something happens," Hisaw said.
Crews got a handle on the fire after approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
Fire investigators said the fire started somewhere in the living room but have not determined the cause.
A next-door neighbor said the couple had items stacked outside the home in their yard that could be seen from his property.
"I never heard it this morning," said neighbor Kevin Penny of the fire, adding that he did smell burning plastic.