LAKESIDE, Calif. -- A fire fueled in part by clutter and exacerbated by rupturing oxygen tanks destroyed a home in Lakeside Friday morning and killed a man, authorities said.
The fire erupted around 4 a.m. at a single-story home on Emerald Hill Lane south of state Route 67 and east of Winter Gardens Boulevard, Lakeside Fire Chief Don Butz said. The body of a 74-year-old man was found in a back bedroom. Three other family members of the victim escaped the blaze.
The home was engulfed in flames by the time fire crews arrived, and the family members who escaped told firefighters that one person was still inside, Butz said. When crews reached that person, he was dead.
"It was an arduous fire" and it took more than 30 minutes to "get significant knockdown," Butz said.
Fire crews reported finding oxygen tanks that ruptured because of the heat and said the home was cluttered with storage, which Butz said fueled the flames.
No firefighters were injured while battling the blaze, Butz said. Heartland Fire & Rescue and the Santee Fire Department assisted Lakeside crews.
Bomb-arson investigators from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department were investigating the cause of the blaze.