Homeowner injured in La Mesa garage fire - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Homeowner injured in La Mesa garage fire

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LA MESA (CNS) - A pilot light on a water heater ignited chemical fumes in a La Mesa garage Wednesday, leaving the 31-year-old homeowner with first- and second-degree burns on his arms and chest.

Fire crews dispatched to the single-story home in the 9500 block of Gregory Street shortly after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday saw smoke coming from the attached garage, according to Heartland Fire & Rescue.

The homeowner suffered second-degree burns on 5-10 percent of his chest, and first-degree burns on his arms while trying to extinguish the flames before fire crews arrived, according to Sonny Saghera, a a public information officer for Heartland Fire & Rescue.

The resident, whose name was not released, was taken to UC San Diego Medical Center, but there was no word on his condition.

The man told authorities he was working on a motor in his garage and using some flammable chemicals that caught fire as they got close to the gas-fired water heater, according to Saghera.

An off-duty firefighter who lives nearby helped put out the fire and summon medical help. Other firefighters arrived in about five minutes and put out the fire in 12 minutes, said Monica Zech of the fire agency.

Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading from the garage to the house, Saghera said. Damage to the structure and its contents was estimated at $30,000, he said.

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