Video shows neighbor trying to help during deadly house fire

Local

SAN DIEGO — Firefighters found a body Sunday after fighting flames at a home north of City Heights for the second time in the past six months.

Investigators are calling the fire near 4100 Fairmount Avenue suspicious as they work to determine the cause.

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Witnesses told FOX 5 they tried to help after seeing the blaze around 3 p.m. Jorge Armando Garcia captured video of flames reaching high into the sky as he ran toward the house, yelling for anyone inside to get out.

“I just tried to get in the door and the window or something but then the police showed up,” he said. “They tried to help too.”

Firefighters got there at 3:04 p.m. and had the fire knocked down at 3:20 p.m., Battalion Chief David Pilkerton of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said. He confirmed they found a body inside the abandoned house.

Fire investigators said Sunday night that they hadn’t yet identified the cause of the fire. It was ruled suspicious until they uncover further information.

“We are still talking to witnesses and neighbors in the area as we speak. This building was an abandoned building that is frequented by transients and we believe the person found inside was a homeless individual that was not supposed to be inside the structure,” a spokesperson said.

It was not immediately known how many people escaped the house and no details about the victim’s age, gender or identity have been released.

Neighbors said this isn’t the first incident involving the home on Fairmount Avenue. Firefighters say it caught fire four to six months ago.

“We’ve been putting in requests—me personally, I think some other neighbors have—- with the city, code compliance through the “Get It Done” app,” neighbor Scott Armstrong said. “And through emails and phone calls to try and get it dealt with.”

He said so far, he’s seen nothing done. Now he is questioning if the deadly fire could have been prevented.

“It needed to have been torn down months ago,” he said. “There’s no reason for this to have happened.”

FOX 5 reached out to the city’s development services, which handles code compliance. A spokesperson could only confirm there is an active code enforcement investigation at the home.

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