CHULA VISTA (NEWS 8/CNS) - A Chula Vista home was destroyed Friday morning in a blaze that injured three people, including a firefighter who sustained a mild facial burn while conducting a risky search for a baby who was later discovered to already be outside the fully engulfed house, authorities said.
The fire broke out about 4:20 a.m. at a home on Cuyamaca Avenue near East L Street and Hilltop Drive, Chula Vista Fire Chief Harry Muns said.
The home was "well-engulfed" when fire crews first arrived, with downed electrical wires and a ruptured gas line, Muns said. And though seven occupants of the home had already escaped through a window, firefighters were told that a baby was still trapped inside.
"That absolutely changes how we approach the fire," Muns said. "We take much greater risks."
A firefighter entered the home through a window in search of the baby and suffered a minor burn to his face from the radiant heat of the flames, the chief said. He was taken to an emergency room for treatment and was "doing well." Firefighters later learned the baby was already rescued by family members and neighbors.
Two others were injured as a result of the blaze, one who sustained a burn and another who was experiencing chest pain, Muns said. It wasn't immediately clear if those people were residents of the home or neighbors who had jumped in to help.
Firefighters knocked down the blaze in about 25 minutes after finally securing the gas line, but not before flames tore through most of the home, blowing out windows and spreading to two vehicles in the driveway, Muns said. There was a partial collapse in the house, which will likely be considered a total loss, while both vehicles were badly scorched.
Fire crews were expected to finish mopping up the blaze by about 8:30 a.m., though investigators were expected to remain on scene throughout the day to determine the cause and estimate the cost of the damage, Muns said.
There was no early indication of what may have started the fire.
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