The 4-year-old and 2-year-old children injured in a garage fire that sparked Sunday night in Serra Mesa are recovering from serious injuries but are expected to survive, according to the San Diego Police Department.
Both children were in the detached garage when the fire sparked at about 11:40 p.m. at The Village at Serra Mesa housing complex off of Murray Ridge Road, just south of Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport. When the fire broke out, the 35-year-old mother was in a backyard area near the garage, the SDFD said in a press release.
SDPD Sgt. Rich Pechin said the 4-year-old suffered burn injuries to about 20% of his body and is still in serious but stable condition. The 2-year-old wasn't burned but did suffer smoke inhalation injuries. Both were still being treated at UC San Diego as of Wednesday afternoon, but they are expected to survive, Pechin said.
MAST, a team of fire investigators that is typically called to fires deemed suspicious or involving explosives, has been called in to look into the details of the garage fire, though the cause of the fire is, at this point in the investigation, believed to be accidental, Pechin said.
Fodi Moasa, who works at a gas station across the street, said he heard a neighbor calling for help shortly after the fire started. Moasa locked up his shop and he and a customer ran to help.
"The fire had already became kind of bad and we broke down the garage door and we found a kid passed out in the garage," Moasa said.
Bystanders gave aid to the child until medics arrived. Moasa said medics were able to resuscitate the child.
Meanwhile, another bystander who arrived to help ran around the backside of the garage and pulled a second child from the garage, Moasa said. That child was also barely breathing, he added.
Moasa said the children's mother pulled towards the garage in a vehicle minutes after he broke down the garage door. She pulled her vehicle too close to the garage and it caught on fire, too.
By the time firefighters arrived, the garage was engulfed in flames, SDFD said. Flames were also pouring from the vehicle just outside the garage.
Moasa said it appeared the fire started somewhere in the middle of the garage. By the time he broke down the garage door, it was spreading rapidly.
"Right when we broke the garage door, all the fire came in our face and it was hard to breathe that, you know, but we still managed to get the kid out," he said. "I saved a kid's life. I feel good about that."
The fire caused about $60,000 worth of damage to the garage and about $30,000 worth of damage to the contents inside. Two other garages were also damaged. In all, about $200,000 worth of damage is estimated, the SDPD said.