Candlelight vigil for young woman killed in Bonita house fire - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Candlelight vigil for young woman killed in Bonita house fire

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BONITA (CNS) - A young teacher who died in a house fire in Bonita is remembered and missed by her students, family and friends.

Fire investigators on Tuesday ruled out arson but were still trying to pinpoint the cause of a fast-moving blaze that killed a 22-year-old woman and injured four others at a South Bay home owned by a former assembly woman and Chula Vista mayor.
   
Vanessa De La Cruz was found dead in a back bedroom of the home at 3858 Alameda Way after firefighters extinguished the pre-dawn fire Monday morning. 
   
A memorial candlelight vigil was held Tuesday evening  at the Kids Depot Child Development Center at 1394 E. Palomar St. in Otay Ranch, where De 
La Cruz had taught preschoolers for the past six months.
   
De La Cruz's father awoke shortly before 5 a.m. Monday to smoke and flames filling the home near Willow Street and tried to wake the rest of his 
family. When family members realized that De La Cruz was still in the home, her father and brother placed a ladder beneath her window, broke the glass and called to her, authorities said.
   
She initially answered her family, but moments later went silent, and her brother and father had to move away from the flames.
   
Fire crews had the blaze knocked down around 5:20 a.m. and subsequently found De La Cruz's body, according to the sheriff's department and the medical examiner's office.
   
The fire apparently started in a screened patio area of the home, according to sheriff's Deputy Anthony Tripoli. He also said this afternoon that 
arson had been ruled out, although the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
   
Three of the four family members who were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation have been released, according to 
Tripoli. One woman remained hospitalized.
   
The 1.22-acre property, which has several homes on it, has been owned by former assemblywoman and Chula Vista Mayor Shirley Horton and her husband, Luther, since 1987, according to county assessor records.
   

The American Red Cross is helping the family with shelter and other needs. Neighbors in the community have started a GoFundMe page in honor of Vanessa.

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