3 buildings destroyed by fire in Valley Center

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SAN DIEGO — A brush fire threatened homes and businesses while burning in Valley Center Friday afternoon, Cal Fire officials said. The fire charred 37 acres, destroying three buildings and damaging one home in the process. Firefighters stopped the fire’s forward progress and reached 20% containment by 3:40 p.m. The fire was 100% contained by 6 p.m. Sunday, Cal Fire officials said. Neighbors in the area were nervous as the flames got close to their homes. “I thought I wasn’t going to make it down the driveway,” said Robert Cullen. “There were flames everywhere.” Cullen’s writing studio was burned to the ground as the flames turned toward his house. “I thought it was almost a done deal,” said Cullen, believing the fire was going to destroy his home. Firefighters were able to get a handle on the blaze before it reached Cullen’s house. Evacuation orders were in effect in areas immediately threatened by the flames. The fire was reported around 1 p.m. on Cole Grade Lane at Miller Lane, not long after firefighters halted a fire that burned 97 acres in Ramona Friday morning. A temporary evacuation center was initially established at the Valley Center Community Center, but shortly after 8 p.m., the Red Cross moved the shelter to Valley Center Middle School at 28102 North Lake Wohlford Road. By Saturday afternoon, all evacuation orders were lifted. Large animal evacuation assistance was offered through the County’s Department of Animal Services, available at 619-236-2341. Smaller pets could be taken to the the evacuation center at Valley Center Middle School, where the San Diego Humane Society opened an adjacent pet shelter. Road closures were in effect along Cole Grand Road at Miller Lane, Valley Center Road and Oak Glen Place. By 8 p.m., the following road closures were still in effect: Terrace View Lane at Cool Valley Road, Wilhite Lane South of Puma Trail, Coyote Run at Rabbit Run, and Cool Valley Highlands Road at Cool Valley Road.

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