Elderly man rescued after fire tears through Del Mar garage

DEL MAR, Calif. - An elderly man and his caretaker were rescued from a balcony on Del Mar after getting trapped when a garage caught fire early Sunday.

Fire crews were dispatched to the 2700 block of Camino Del Mar at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday at 2:30 a.m. and found the garage fully engulfed in flames, according to a Del Mar fire department spokesperson.

The two people were briefly trapped on a balcony of the home as smoke and flames spread through the garage. Firefighters rescued both and transported the elderly man to Scripps Memorial Hospital for minor injuries. The caretaker was not hurt.

A firefighter also experienced smoke inhalation and was taken to a hospital.

“I heard what I thought was gunfire, there were a lot of explosions,” said neighbor Dave Gallo.

The popping Gallo heard was coming from his next-door neighbor's multi-car garage that caught fire.

“The first unit arrived and the entire garage was fully involved,” said Del Mar Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Ford.

“They were very concerned because alarms were going off in the cars, lights were flashing and they were burning up with gasoline. I think that’s one of the biggest things that fed the fire, said Gallo.

Firefighting crews put out the blaze within 20 minutes. Hours later, restoration crews put a tarp up around the area until insurance officials come out to assess the damage.

“Majority of the damage -- 95 percent of it -- was to the garage. About $150,000 damage to the structure and about the same to the contents, mostly vehicles,” said Chief Ford.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.