Spring Valley

Spring Valley abandoned house fire leaves 1 dead

Neighbors say they're worried about more than just the fire

NBC Universal, Inc.

A fire broke out at a home around 4 a.m. on the 8600 block of Eileen Street in Spring Valley on Sunday morning. San Miguel Fire & Rescue and deputies from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Station arrived on scene within five minutes after receiving a call from a neighbor.

The next door neighbor told NBC 7 she was first woken up by her dog barking, and then firefighters banging on her windows and front door.

"It's been hell — it's been hell," she said. The neighbor did not want to identify herself out of fear for her safety. She told NBC 7 that this house has been a problem for years. Her neighbors told a similar story.

"It's been condemned a couple times, people kind of come in and out -- there's usually people that are up to no good living in there," said Cindy Lopez, a neighbor who was out walking her dog.

The Sheriff's Bomb/Arson Unit said the back of the home was engulfed by the fire. It came dangerously close to the next door neighbor's home.

San Miguel Fire & Rescue and deputies from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Station arrived on scene on Jan. 7, 2024. (NBC 7 San Diego)

"The winds were so bad, I thought my house was going to go," said the neighbor.

While putting out the fire, the Sheriff's Bomb/Arson Unit said a person was found inside the home. Firefighters attempted to perform life-saving measures, but he was later declared dead at the scene. NBC 7 was there when the individual was placed in a body bag and transported on a gurney.

The identity of the deceased person has not yet been released.

San Miguel Fire & Rescue confirmed that the property was deemed abandoned, and contained illegal electrical equipment among other hazards known to firefighters, having been called to the property before.

"The owner that used to live there passed away, then his daughter inherited that house and the next thing you know, there'd just be people coming in and out of that house every single day," said a neighbor who lives across the street. They, too, did not wish to be identified.

The Sheriff's Bomb/Arson Unit has been investigating the cause of the fire.

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