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December 14, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – Residential fires have caused major damage to homes in Descanso, Lakeside, Valley Center and La Mesa this month. The latest blaze occurred this morning at 4:17 a.m. in a condominium complex at 9320 Earl Street #25 in La Mesa, where fire crews arrived in less than five minutes and ran hose lines inside through thick, dark smoke down to the floor. Firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to locate the fire in the kitchen.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze in 13 minutes, containing burned damage to the kitchen and dining room, however significant smoke and heat damage occurred throughout the residence. Firefighters also cut a hole through the roof to provide ventilation of the smoke and check to make sure the fire had not spread into the attic.

Sparks from a fireplace ignited carpet in a Descanso home, where smoke detectors were non-working. Four minor children and an adult were displaced and received assistance from the Red Cross. CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority responded to the blaze at 5:35 a.m. on December 9, controlling the fire within half an hour. The family suffered a $120,000 loss, though $180,00 worth of property was saved by firefighters’ efforts.

“We remind homeowners to obey the three-foot rule around their fireplaces and have a fire screen. Keep all flammables out of that area, especially when we come into the winter months,” CAL FIRE public information officer Mike Mohler said, adding that residents should also check smoke detectors for proper operation and replace batteries regularly.

In Lakeside, a fire that started at a Jacuzzi spread into a home at 13347 Lakeshore Drive on December 10th. Heartland Communications Center dispatched five companies from the Lakeside and Santee Fire Agencies, as well as an ALS ambulance and battalion chief.


In Valley Center, a two car detached garage with living quarters inside suffered $300,000 in damage on December 1st. When Firefighters arrived the structure was fully involved. Two patients were transported to Palomar Hospital with mild smoke inhalation and burns. Two dogs and a cat were killed in the fire..


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