A man who was injured in a fire that tore through a building near the Mission Beach boardwalk Tuesday morning has died, the Medical Examiner's (ME) office confirmed.
The man, identified Wednesday as Aaron Porter, 36, was rescued from the fire that sparked across the street from Bellmont Park and was rushed to UC San Diego Medical Center where he was treated for thermal injuries.
The ME said Porter's health steadily declined as the day progressed and he was pronounced dead by that evening.
The fire produced a large column of thick, black smoke into the air that was visible for miles when it erupted at a second-story residence on Ventura Place.
A second person was injured in the fire but elected not to go to the hospital in an ambulance.
Firefighters were met with challenges when they arrived. A metal stairwell was energized from nearby electrical lines so crews put up ladders to get to the roof from the street level, SDFD Battalion Chief Ed Kinnamon said.
The age of the building also created a challenge for firefighters.
“These old buildings are made out of plaster so it’s not the easy drywall. So it’s physically intense to pull the stuff just to confirm the fire is out,” Kinnamon said.
The multiple-story building is home to Dreyer's Ice Cream and Kojack's restaurant on the first floor.
Residences on the second floor sustained fire and water damage, fire officials said, while the businesses below suffered water damage only.
San Diego Gas & Electric said the large fire damaged some wooden power poles and wiring. Some customers in the area were without service until 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Five people were in the apartment when the fire broke out.
Investigators still don't have an exact cause but said the blaze started on a rooftop storage area.