Man missing in fire that sparked just after ‘dispute’ with wife

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SAN DIEGO -- A man is still missing after a raging fire destroyed his family home in rural East County Saturday evening, and investigators said the blaze broke out moments after some kind of "domestic dispute."

The fire started around 5 p.m. at the house on Black Canyon Road in Ramona, according to Cal Fire. By 6 p.m., crews had gone into "defensive mode" for the safety of firefighters, letting the blaze burn itself out and focusing on protecting nearby buildings.

Officials said a family of three lived inside the house. A woman and young child were reportedly not inside when the fire started and were being assisted by Red Cross finding a place to sleep. Cal Fire told FOX 5 the woman's husband was unaccounted for, but that he was likely inside the home at the time of the fire.

“We’ve scoured the perimeter of the structure and were not able to find that person anywhere around the house, so we’re assuming he was inside during the time of the fire," Battalion Chief Randy Scales said. “We know that there was a domestic dispute involved just prior to the report of the fire starting."

Investigators say the cause of the fire has been deemed "suspicious" and the San Diego County Sheriff's Bomb/Arson unit was called to the scene. Investigators were working to determine the cause and origin of the fire, and whether or not the husband was inside.

The roof and second story of the home collapsed. "We can’t confirm that he was inside yet until we can actually safely get inside," Scales explained.

One fire engine remained on scene overnight. Crews planned to return the following morning to continue their search for the missing man.

No other injuries were reported.

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