April 16, 2012 (Rancho San Diego) – Firefighters with San Miguel Fire District dispatched units to a fully engulfed house fire in the 1800 Block of Vista Grande at 4:40 p.m. today. On arrival, crews witnessed large flames shooting out of all of the home’s front windows, said Leonard Villareal, public information officer for San Miguel Fire.
The fire was knocked down about 30 minutes later.
The male occupant of the split level home told investigators he had been smoking a cigar. He indicated he thought he had fully extinguished the cigar and set it on the table. Apparently it rolled into his chair, smoldered until bursting into flames. His wife was out of town at the time of the blaze.
The man managed to save his dog, but the family’s pet cat perished in the blaze. In an effort to go back into the burning structure he suffered minor burns on his face, neck and hairline. He was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation but refused transport to a hospital.
No other injuries were reported. The preliminary investigation indicates the cause of the fire is accidental with damage estimated at $600,000.
In the event of a structure fire, the San Miguel Fire District strongly recommends residents get out and stay out. Superheated smoke can incapacitate a victim in a matter of seconds.
The Red Cross is providing the family of two and pet with emergency shelter.