San Diego

Fire Damages Family's Home of 50 Years in El Cajon

The fire started in a detached garage and then spread to the house that was built in 1927

A fire that began in a garage spread quickly Thursday, damaging a farmhouse that had been an El Cajon family's home for 50 years.

The home on 4th Street near Madison Avenue caught fire after flames spread from what appeared to be a shed and two carports. 

A plume of thick, black smoke rose above the lot as Heartland Fire & Rescue Department firefighters attempted to spray it down with hoses.

The fire started in a detached garage and then spread to the house that was built in 1927.

The same family has lived in the home for 50 years and now fears everything inside was lost.

"You don't know what the damage is," said homeowner Diane Geraci. "I have an expensive sewing machine in there and pictures on the walls and the quilts that I've made are gone because they were stored in the garage."

Geraci smelled smoke and thought it was a barbeque in the area. She soon realized this was not someone grilling and called 911. 

"That wooden garage just went up like timber. It just really burned fast," she said.

Her son, Brendan Geraci, grabbed a garden hose to fight the flames. 

"All I heard was popping noises," he said. 

"Once the roof went and the attic, it's gone," he said. "I lost everything in there. Everything's gone." 

The family lost two garages and a trailer that was in the backyard. 

The family's dog was in the garage when the fire started but made it out safely to a neighbor's home.

Geraci lives in the home with her four adult sons. They all escaped without injury. 

The cause of the fire is being investigated, according to a San Miguel Fire & Rescue battalion chief.

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