Dangerous fire breaks out at illegal structure in Vista - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Dangerous fire breaks out at illegal structure in Vista

Posted: Updated:

VISTA (CBS 8) – An investigation is underway after a fire tore through a garage in a Vista neighborhood that was illegally being used as a residence.

The fire started around 6:00 p.m. Thursday night in the 600 block of Onley Drive.

When firefighters arrived on scene they said flames were shooting in the air, neighbors say there were about 25 feet tall.

“I ran over there with just my shorts on, no shoes, no shorts, I felt it right away so I had to douse myself with water,” said Jaime Hernandez.

He lives next door and searched for anyone in the homes, he tried dousing the flames coming from what he calls a garage behind his aunt's home. No one was home or hurt, “It was intense,” said Hernandez. “It got out of control quick.”

The flames reached power lines causing outbursts from the falling cables causing an electrical hazard. They had to back off and wait for SDG&E which was an estimated 20 minutes.

“It kills us because we have to pull back and we can't fight the fire, so we had to keep the fire at bay for quite a while. We couldn't actually put it out,” said Mark Standifird, Acting Battalion Chief for the Vista Fire Department.

Once firefighters got control of the flames, they learned why the flares were so intense, "Illegally or no permitted structures are not built to code and they don't have the fire stops and they don't have the things in place that would slow a fire down,” said Standifird.

Firefighters say residents living in the illegal structure behind the home reported electrical problems.

“A lot of void spaces, a lot of spaces for the fire to travel quickly and really accelerate,” said Standifird.

The structure was destroyed and the back of the white home was damaged.

Hernandez says he knows what he did was dangerous but he wanted to save a family treasure.

“The house has been in the family for years and years and years and that's what I wanted to protect,” said Hernandez.

Power outages affected the anchor home and the destroyed structure.

Red Cross assisted with at least one child and adult who were displaced.

Fire investigators are still working on the case and say the homeowner could face charges or a fine for the illegal structure.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.