Investigators: Lightning strike may have caused East County house fire

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A fire gutted this home in Spring Valley. Firefighters believe a lightning strike sparked the blaze, but its cause is still officially under investigation.

SPRING VALLEY (CNS) – A two-alarm fire potentially caused by lightning destroyed a Spring Valley house Friday morning, injured two residents and prompted neighbors to evacuate because of a broken and burning natural gas line.

The blaze was reported around 3:45 a.m. on South Barcelona Street near Via De Oro, San Miguel Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Andy Lawler said.

The single-story house was engulfed in flames and the two residents were outside at a neighbor’s house when firefighters arrived, Lawler said.

The residents told firefighters they were able to get out of the home after they heard a loud sound and smelled smoke, he said. It is assumed that lightning struck the home, but the cause of the fire was under investigation.

The residents — a man and a woman — were taken to the UC San Diego Medical Center burn unit for treatment of smoke inhalation, Lawler said.

Firefighters from San Miguel and Heartland Fire & Rescue doused the blaze, which completely destroyed the home, and knocked down the flames by 4:45 a.m., he said.

The fire knocked down power lines, broke a gas line at the home’s meter and also damaged three vehicles nearby.

Sheriff’s deputies helped evacuate 10 residences nearby because of the danger of explosion from the broken gas line.

San Diego Gas & Electric crews capped the line and remained at the scene to repair the damage.

A damage estimate was not immediately available.

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