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Smoldering Cigar Triggers $600,000 House Fire in Rancho San Diego

San Miguel Fire District responded to the fully engulfed house fire located on the 1800 block of Vista Grande on Monday afternoon. The fire was knocked down in 30 minutes.

The San Miguel Fire District made the following announcement on April 17, 2012:

Firefighters with the responded to a fully engulfed house fire located on the 1800 block of Vista Grande on Monday afternoon. Units were dispatched at 4:40 p.m. Upon arrival, fire crews witnessed large flames shooting out of all of the home’s front windows. The fire was considered knocked down about 30 minutes later.

The male occupant of the split level home told investigators he had been smoking a cigar. He indicated he thought he had fully extinguished the cigar and set it on the table. According to fire investigators, it rolled into his chair and smoldered until bursting into flames. The occupants’ wife was out of town at the time of the blaze. The man in his early 70’s managed to save his dog, but the family’s pet cat perished in the blaze.

In an effort to go back into the burning structure, the man suffered minor burns on his face, neck and hairline. He was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation but refused transport to a hospital.

No other injuries were reported. The preliminary investigation indicates the cause of the fire is accidental with damage estimated at $600,000.

In the event of a structure fire the San Miguel Fire District strongly recommends residents get out and stay out. Superheated smoke can incapasite a victim in a matter of seconds. The Red Cross is providing the family of two and pet with emergency shelter.

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