A man died after heavy smoke and flames engulfed a Spring Valley home early Saturday morning, according to the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.
Crews responded to the home on Demona Place just after 3 a.m.
A neighbor, who reported the fire, told authorities that a man in his 50s lived at that house and may still be inside.
With no answer to the front door, firefighters forced entry into the home, according to deputies. Once inside, crews found a man in the living room.
“There’s lots of debris inside the home,” said San Miguel Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Andy Lawler. “Due to the debris and the amount of fire that was inside the house, they had a difficult time locating the victim.”
Firefighters cut a hole in the roof and in the garage to let smoke out and to ensure any needed escape routes.
First responders pulled the man from the blaze and began performing life-saving measures. The victim was transported to UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest where he was pronounced dead at 4:10 a.m.
His injuries were not confirmed at this time; however, SDSO said the man was “probably a victim of smoke inhalation” in a statement to NBC 7.
Crews were able to extinguish the fire but not before it fully engulfed the home, leaving behind extensive damage, deputies said.
“I really couldn’t believe it was actually happening. It was pretty shocking,” said Christian Montano, the neighbor who reported the fire to police.
While authorities have not yet released the identity of the victim, Haylie Grimm, an 11-year-old resident in the area, said the man was a “very good person.”
“He helped me with my first business,” she said. “My business was for bookmarks. I sold them for a dollar each, and he was very supportive of my business.”
San Diego Fire Department, San Miguel Fire and Rescue, and Bonita-Sunnyside Fire Protection assisted crews battle the fire.
SDSO’s Bomb/Arson Unit were requested to the scene, but the origin of the fire remains unknown at this time.
No other information was available.
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