Lakeside fire burns homes; 1 injured

Lakeside fire burns homes; 1 injured

12 May 2013

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USA — A woman suffered major burns Sunday in a small brush fire that started in a Lakeside creekbed, destroyed a trailer home, and scorched other homes and vehicles.

The blaze started about noon along Los Coches Creek, off Highway 8 Business near Los Coches Road, and spread to the Glenview Mobile Lodge. About 1½ acres burned before most of the flames were doused around 1:35 p.m.

Firefighters heading to the fire found a badly burned woman lying alongside the road near the flaming vegetation, said Lakeside Fire Protection District Chief Andy Parr.

Paramedics took the woman to the UC San Diego Medical Center burn unit in critical condition.

Parr said it wasn’t known whether the woman lived at the mobile home park or in a homeless camp along the dry creek.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Sunday night.

Flames were fueled by arundo donax, a tall cane in the creekbed that caused an “explosive fire,” with embers flying 100 feet and starting more fires, Parr said.

The fire caused damage at the mobile home park and to the nearby Wise Co. Roofing Contractors office and several company vehicles.

Raul Lizarraga, 37, a resident at Glenview, said he heard the noise of flames raging through trees behind his home.

“We ran outside and saw the flames were really high,” Lizarraga said. “We jumped in the car and left. My wife and I, and our two kids. We got our friends out of their house, the one that burned.”

Jesus Bernal said he was at work when his trailer house caught fire. He and his wife, Estella, and their children, ages 5, 9, 11 and 14, had bought the home from Lizarraga and moved in eight months ago. Their home and much of their belongings were destroyed. The Red Cross gave them vouchers for food and clothing, and they planned to stay with Lizarraga’s family for a short time.

“Then we’ll see,” Bernal said. “We’ll have to find somewhere to live.”

Two air tankers and two helicopters dropped water on the fire, and about 100 firefighters responded from 10 agencies, with 20 fire engines, Parr said.

Substantial resources were available to fight the stubborn blaze and keep it from growing because there were no other major fires burning when this one started, he said.

San Diego firefighters dealt with two small fires on Sunday. One burned less than a quarter-acre of brush in a canyon on Poblado Road near Matinal Road in Rancho Bernardo about 4 p.m., and another burned 1½ acres off Dassco Street, near Euclid Avenue in Lincoln Park about 2:40 p.m. Both fires were under investigation.

Parr said that firefighters prepare every year for a bad fire season, but this year the signs suggest an especially dangerous season.

“The fires are bigger and moving more quickly than usual for early May,” Parr said.

He encouraged people to clear brush from around their homes to make it easier for firefighters to battle any blazes that start.

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