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Homes destroyed in Lakeside fire

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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.


  • Walter

    Yes, We are to late. We the community of East County have let our homeless Vets down again. Walter Choate from Abundant Life Church just hundreds of feet where Michael, ex Navy police veteran was living when caught in brush fire caused by the heat is in critical condition and may not make it.

    Walter Choate & Darla have been working with Abundant Life's Homeless out reach program and East county waste tire problem by diverting waste tires from the land fills by making them into Horse & Bull swings for playgrounds & back yards.

    Walter Choate has been doing this for over 10 years in Texas and had no problem selling them there. That's why he made a bold statement, that togetther we will have a clean and safe home for are homeless vets and others in 6 months. That was 6 months ago.

    I asked him while watching the burned down homeless, home of Michael and after hearing that she is severely burned in critical condition & may not make it. What he thought? We let Michael down, we let our military vets down, we let our community down.

    We have a problem when we can help a beer making business in East county to succeed in getting the tax payers money (El Cajon Brewing Company struggling with bankruptcy. A
    Business borrowed $600K from El Cajon, state. Channel 10 news, Article Posted: 02/23/2013).

    And we can't help a business with community support & funds needed to help with Real problems that we are facing ( waste tires piles in our community and our vets that have found their selves homeless).

    We made a promise to our homeless vets that we would hire, house and help them back into the work force. We showed them our vision, busiess plan ( Working With Small Business Administration & Small Business Developement Center) that we "Can, do it".

    This gave ( business plan) our homeless vets a hope that we wouldn't leave them behind. We positioned ourselves with a few recycled tire products to start with, namely, Eco-Tire Swings for children that are a hit, but we have over 30 other products( door & shop mats, truck lineners, roof tiles, construction logs, etc);

    made from waste recycled tires that we could divert from the county land fills, save the tax payers
    money, provide tax dollars back into the cities treasury and most importantly…help our homeless vets who offered their lifes so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have and live in safe comfortabe homes free from poverty.

    Yes, somethings wrong with that picture: We tax payers will give hundreds of thousands of dollars to people who want to make us drunk, then when we're drunk tell us they spent all our money and their out of business and we're stuck with the bill.

    But when a group of people get together with a workable plan and ask the community get funding to help save the tax payers money by diverting waste tires from our land fills, put money back into the community from the products they offer, help clean up our environment and help clean up our homeless vet problem and can't get help to save just one Navy Vet who served our country, then we have a problem.

    I'm not giving up says Walter Choate. I'm asking the community to get involved with this project. Let's keep Michael in our thoughts and prayers that she will recover. She has no home, no loved ones to support her. This is Mother's Day; She's alone, lost and feels forgotten. Let's reach out to her and let her know her country/community hasn't forgotten her.

    Partner up with Walter Choate at & Abundant Life Church and let's get the
    funding to provide Michael with a place to come home to and a job to support her with. One Vet at a time. Together we can do it.

    She's in the Burn Unit at UCSD 619-543-6505 and leave a message, give her something to hang on to, let her know we care.

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