Fire crews find body while battling brush fire near mall

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NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — Firefighters discovered a body as they battled to control a wildfire burning near the Plaza Bonita Mall Wednesday afternoon.

Crews came across the body at about 2 p.m. as they were trying to contain the 1-acre blaze in an area known for homeless encampments. The body was so badly burned that they could not determine if it was a man or woman, fire officials said.

Plaza Bonita Fire“Police personal haven’t been able to go in and determine the condition of the body,” said Capt. Jose Tellez.

Mary Kirkendall lives in the riverbed where the fire started and was able to escape the flames without getting injured, but she was worried her friend didn’t make it out.

“I can’t find her, she’s not anywhere near anyone else’s camp,” said Kirkendall, who is convinced the victim found was her friend. “I’m positive it’s her, she’s the only one missing.”

The fire broke out at about 12:30 p.m. in the wooded area between Interstate 805 and the Plaza Bonita Mall. Because of the proximity to the mall and the high winds, firefighters hit the blaze with at least 20 trucks and a helicopter. Crews from Chula Vista, Bonita and San Diego helped National City firefighters put a containment line around the fire as a helicopter from the San Diego Fire Department dropped water from above.

The fire was contained in about 90 minutes. Firefighters monitored the area for hot spots for the next few hours.

Fire investigators planned on returning to the riverbed Thursday morning to determine the cause of the fire and find more details about the person who died.

Kirkendall told Fox 5 the fire started at her friend’s front door.

“She has a little structure in there. She’s lived there for 6 years. I know she has propane bottles, I heard the popping, popping, popping of the propane bottles,” said Kirkendall.


1 Comment

  • Valerie campbell

    National city fire body found ……….As of 6/6/14 i was notified that this is in fact 100% the body found the female body …… sister who was found in the national city fire at the homeless camp Rayna Begay she was a daughter she was my sister she was a awesome aunt and she had a huge heart and everywhere she went she was loved she will always be remembered and never forgotten i hope this post get to the news so the can release on the air that it has been confirmed cause i want the world to know she was a loving person and a somebody she wasn’t a nobody she was the greatest sister anyone could ask for ….. I love you Rayna always remembered never forgotten …. Give me hell !!!!!

    417-773-1614 we live in missouri when we got the news it might be her but now we have been notified it is my sister Rayna Begay
    Please let everyone know she has been confirmed

    I dont want fame out o this just so everyone knows who the jane doe was in the fire in the national city fire april 30 at the homeless camp by plaza Bonita

    If you do release a story wed just like link or Copy so our mom can see before she passes ty

    Thank you valerie campbell raynas sister

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