Homes destroyed in Lakeside fire

LAKESIDE, Calif. – A brush fire in Lakeside destroyed homes, cars and injured one person Sunday afternoon.

The fire started about noon on Olde Highway 80 east of Los Coches Road in Lakeside and was contained about an hour later, a Heartland Fire dispatcher said. fire1

Firefighters attacked the blaze from the ground and the air which prevented the fire from spreading even more.

“It’s off the road meaning we have to go in there with hand tools,” said Lakeside Fire Chief Andy Parr.

The fire started in a river bed off the highway, a known homeless encampment, officials said.  The cause of the fire is under investigation, but officials speculate it may have been started by someone in the river basin.

Paramedics found a seriously burned woman on the side of the road and transported her to UC San Diego Hospital for treatment.  Her condition was unknown Sunday evening, but fire officials said her injuries were life-threatening.

“We aren’t sure if the woman was involved,” said Parr.

Lakeside-fire-1The fire damaged a handful of cars, several sheds, some business property and two homes including Mike McKee’s.

“I have a lot of friends,” said McKee.  “No sense in getting negative, nothing you can do.”

Brandon Bernal’s family was evacuated from the area.  When they returned to their mobile home, it was completely destroyed.

“My family is okay, my dog is okay, but two turtles died,” said Bernal.  “I felt like I was gonna die cause the fire was so close. It sounded like explosions.”

Family and friends are reaching out to the family to ensure they have a place to call home until they figure out what to do next.

Firefighters were on the scene all day and into the evening mopping up the area and making sure hotspots didn’t flare up.