Man seen lurking near suspicious house fire

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NATIONAL CITY — Investigators were working Friday to determine whether a man seen near a National City home just before a fire broke out on its patio was responsible for the blaze.

Witnesses told investigators that shortly before the fire broke out, the potential suspect was seen outside the rear of the residence on East Third Street near South Clairemont Avenue late Thursday afternoon and around the neighborhood several times in the days prior, according to Battalion Chief Robert Hernandez of the National City Fire Department.

Hernandez said police and fire investigators would be “researching” the person of interest. He said he was unable to provide other information about the possible suspect, citing the ongoing investigation.

The home’s resident was able to escape uninjured, but the fire caused about $120,000 in damage to his home, according to the battalion chief. Fire crews from National City, Chula Vista and San Diego had the blaze knocked down in about 20 minutes.