Trapped family rescued after reaching out to firefighter through barred window

Local

SAN DIEGO — A raging fire trapped a family inside their Mid-City home Sunday morning, but they were rescued after a resident managed to reach out and grab a firefighter through their window’s security bars.

The blaze broke out around 6 a.m. at the home on Malcolm Drive in the Rolando neighborhood, near the intersection of University and College avenues. Firefighters got reports of heavy smoke and flames coming from the single-story house and were told that there was a large family trapped inside, according to Batt. Chief Mike McBride with San Diego Fire-Rescue.

When crews arrived, they immediately started searching for people still inside the burning home, McBride told a photographer with OnScene TV. A firefighter was headed around the side of the house when “a family member reached out through that window (and) grabbed him by the arm,” the battalion chief said.

“They cut the bars off of that window, dragged probably four to five people out of that position,” he continued.

As crews worked to extinguish the flames, a total of six people were rescued and another made it to safety on their own, SDFD said. There were five adults and two children, with ages ranging from 10 to 78 years old.

One of the family members suffered severe burns and was rushed to UC San Diego Medical Center to be treated. The others were eventually taken to the hospital to receive help for smoke inhalation.

Access to the home was challenging because of its location on an inclined, narrow road, so excess crews left their vehicles on University Avenue, shutting down that busy thoroughfare in the area for several hours, McBride explained. A two-alarm fire, the response included dozens of firefighters and other personnel, with resources eventually coming in from the departments in La Mesa and El Cajon, as well.

The SDFD Metro Arson Strike Team will be responsible for determining the cause of the blaze, which does not necessarily indicate that foul play is suspected. MAST is used to investigate most major fires in the city.

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