The fire in the 3800 block of Alameda Way near Willow Street was reported shortly before 5 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol and Heartland Fire and Rescue. Callers told the CHP flames were visible from as far away as Bonita Road.
Fire crews had the blaze knocked down around 5:20 a.m., a fire dispatcher said. Firefighters found a body in a rear bedroom. Technicians from the Medical Examiner's Office were summoned to determine the cause of death.
“It’s just an awful day,” said neighbor Robin Miles. “I did hear them screaming for someone who was trapped inside, but by then the flames were so big, there was no neighbor or anybody who could’ve gotten in there."
Four people were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation.
Fire investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blaze.
The property - a one-acre lot with several homes - is owned by former assemblywoman and former Chula Vista Mayor Shirley Horton. She was too shaken to talk to FOX 5, but said the loss of life is tragic.