San Diego

Neighbors Embrace Woman Thought to be Trapped Inside Burning Home

A house caught fire in a Chula Vista neighborhood Wednesday, causing concern in neighbors who thought an elderly resident of the home may have been trapped inside.

The fire started inside the home at 521 Oaklawn Avenue just before 5 p.m., according to the Chula Vista Fire Department.

CVPD Battalion Chief David Albright said crews searched the home three different times and didn't find anyone inside.

"We checked the house pretty thoroughly and we cannot locate the elderly female," Albright said. The chief said Chula Vista police officers are working to locate the woman to confirm she's not inside and to tell her about her home.

Firefighters confirmed around 5 p.m. they had located the woman. Meanwhile, neighbors were relieved but still emotional.

"I'm just happy that she wasn't in the house because the flames were really big and there was a lot of smoke coming out of there," a neighbor said while fighting back tears.

The neighbor said the woman was "like everyone's grandma" and even used to watch her husband when he was an infant.

Albright said a power outage affected the surrounding area and firefighters responded to multiple traffic accidents caused by nonfunctioning traffic signals, ringing alarms and elevator reFirefightersfghters responding to the house fire were slowed down by congested intersections as a result, Albright said.

Crews extinguished the fire about 15 minutes after they arrived, Albright said.

CVFD investigators are still trying to determine the origin of the fire.

Albright said crews would be on scene for another three to four hours.

Some neighbors were evacuated while the fire was still burning but they were allowed back in their homes, Albright said.

According to San Diego Gas and Electric, the power outage affected nearly 800 customers. Power was expected to be restored at 5:30 p.m.

The cause of the outage was unknown.

No other information was available.

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