A fire that began after 4 a.m. at the home of two longtime San Diego political fixtures is under investigation.
San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher and former California assemblywoman and union leader Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, who are married, and their family safely escaped the fire that started outside the front door of their City Heights home early Wednesday.
San Diego police Lt. Christian Sharp said later in the morning that dispatchers received calls regarding the fire at about 4:20 a.m. Officers arrived a few minutes later, then went around the back after seeing the flames on the front porch and surrounding areas, and knocked on the door to alert everyone and help get them out.
The fire was started on the exterior of the home, and some type of plastic storage bin in front of the home may have caught fire, Sharp said. He said the blaze was suspicious in nature because of the early hour and because it was on the outside of the home.
The San Diego Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST) is investigating the incident.
Fletcher and Gonzalez were awoken by their smoke alarms, according to the supervisor.
“The front of our house was engulfed in flames, but we were able to safely evacuate out another door,” Fletcher said.
San Diego police and firefighters responded to the scene within minutes, Fletcher said as he thanked first responders for saving his home.
Photos: Nathan Fletcher, Lorena Gonzalez and Family Escape Fire at San Diego Home
“We just want to let everyone know, our family is safe and that's really all that matters,” Fletcher told reporters outside his home, which was gated and is off a long roadway.
“We joked, ‘2022 is going to start off better than 2021. We'll just say tomorrow’s going to start off better,’ but it’s going to be fine,” Fletcher said.
The Fletcher family would be displaced for a few days as crews worked on the home.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call SDPD at (619) 531-2000 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
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Fletcher and Gonzalez are both Democrats. Fletcher, who was elected chair for the second year in a row on Tuesday, went from his home to a county board of supervisors meeting, where he was officially sworn in.
Fletcher briefly addressed the incident at the meeting and then said it was time to get to work.
Lorena-Gonzalez recently withdrew from her appointment as a top California assemblymember representing part of southern San Diego County to become executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation.
This story will be updated when new details become available.