Two people are dead and two others were hospitalized following a roaring overnight fire at a home in La Jolla, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
Plumes of smoke were seen coming from the second floor of the home on Caminito La Paz, near La Jolla Parkway. San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Kelly Zombro told NBC 7 that four people live in the house, and two were missing for a few hours.
Firefighters discovered the bodies of the two missing family members in the charred home later in the morning, SDFD said on their social media.
A family member told NBC 7 those who died were an 80-year-old grandfather and his 8-year-old granddaughter who had severe autism. The girl's father was taken to UC San Diego Medical Center for minor burns and her 10-year-old sister was uninjured but was also transported with her dad. Both have since been released.
Zombro said the fire began at about 3:45 a.m. and upon arrival, the house was fully involved in the blaze. Heavy structural damage was reported, including collapses in two different parts of the home and a partially fallen roof in one area.
By 5:10 a.m., Zombro said most of the fire had been knocked down. However, firefighters remained at the site to clear out hot spots that continued to flare.
Crews were able to contain the blaze to the property and neighboring homes were unaffected by the blaze.
Neighbors told NBC 7 they heard windows exploding earlier in the morning, but firefighters have not confirmed any explosions.
Pat Nissan, who lives next door to the house that was on fire, recalled seeing the glow of the blaze in the early morning.
“I look out and I go, ‘What is that?’ It looks like fire. I look some more and I go, ‘Wow, that’s fire,’ and blasts started exploding," Nissan said. "I mean, I called the police and they said that fire trucks are on the way. And police started coming in the house saying, ‘Evacuate. Evacuate. Evacuate.’"
Authorities did not identify the names of the deceased.
A family member said the father had a fireplace lit that evening but fire investigators have not yet confirmed that detail. The cause of the fire has not yet been identified.
The SDFD said a total of 86 personnel were assigned to tackle the two-alarm fire, including 10 engines and a helicopter.