San Diego

Brush Fire Contained Near San Diego State University; Evacuation Orders Lifted

Evacuations were ordered for San Diego State University's Villa Alvarado Apartments after a brush fire sparked near the eastbound I-8 off-ramp to College Avenue.

The fire was first reported along Canyon Crest Drive at about 12:20 p.m. and within a half-hour students were being evacuated from the Villa Alvarado Apartments and moved to the Tula Community Center, SDSU said.

“I was just in my apartment and I heard the fire alarms going off and thought someone else in the building had set them off. Then once we exited, we saw that the bushes outside were in flames,”SDSU student Morgan Piecukonis said.

The decision to evacuate the dorms was made fast because the fire was spreading quickly.

"This is a pretty big piece of road and the fire managed to get across it," SDFD Deputy Fire Chief kelly Zombro said.  

By 2 p.m., the spread of the fire was stopped at two-and-a-half acres but it would still be an hour before residents would be allowed back into their apartment complex. 

No damage to structures were reported and no one was injured but students returning to their dorms Sunday evening were shocked to see how close it came.

"I didn't realize how much damage was done until I come back and looking at it now," SDSU student Tazio Rosenberg said. "It seems a lot more serious than it seemed from back in the apartments."

The Metropolitan Transit System detoured trolley stops to SDSU, including College and Alvarado, College and SDSU, and the SDSU Transit center. 

SDFD Metro Arson Strike Team are investigating the incident to determine what caused the fire. They do not believe lightning was the cause. 

No other information was available.

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