A family was forced to flee their Paradise Hills home just days before Christmas as a fire in their garage began spreading to the rest of the house Friday.
Several neighbors called 911 after seeing smoke and flames coming from the home located on Deauville Street, in a neighborhood near the Interstate 805 and State Route 54 junction, just before 5 a.m., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
“Total loss. Just, everything is gone,” said resident J.D. Evans. “We were going to have Christmas here this year, but we’re not going to have Christmas here [now].”
When crews arrived, the fire, which had started near the back of the garage, had spread into the home and a back patio.
SDFD Battalion Chief Michael Howell said the family, four adults and a six-year-old child, were able to evacuate on their own, running from the home with only the clothes on their backs as the fire began to spread.
“We were out the door in 30 seconds, and we got around to the other side of the house. It was just fully red, just big, giant flame, everything was burned up,” Evans said.
Firefighters also evacuated residents on either side of the house due to fears that the fire could spread to neighboring homes.
No one was injured, Howell said, but the residents were visibly distressed.
"The occupants were very emotional, as would anyone at this time of year," he said.
They were able to salvage many of the family’s presents in the wreckage. But as for the tree, Evans said it was “just a black stick.”
He said it was his first family tree, standing 10 feet tall.
The Red Cross was called to assist the family with living arrangements. Howell said their home was not livable.
Both SDFD and the National City Fire Department tackled flames but extensive damage could be seen to the garage, which was connected to the home. A car parked outside the home was also burned on the front.
The garage was totaled and the home had significant smoke and water damage. Howell said "significant" repairs would need to be made.
Evans said he doesn’t know how the fire started. He “woke up and everything was black. There’s smoke everywhere.”
MAST investigators were working to determine what caused the fire but part of the garage's structure had collapsed making their investigation more difficult, Howell said.
A GoFundMe page was set up for the family Friday.
No other information was available.
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