Garage fire injures La Mesa homeowner

A pilot light on a water heater ignited chemical fumes
in a La Mesa garage on Wednesday, leaving the 31-year-old homeowner with first- and
second-degree burns on his arms and chest.

Fire crews dispatched to the single-story home in the 9500 block of
Gregory Street shortly after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday saw smoke coming from the
attached garage, according to Heartland Fire & Rescue.

The homeowner suffered second-degree burns on 5-10 percent of his chest,
and first-degree burns on his arms while trying to extinguish the flames
before fire crews arrived, according to Sonny Saghera, a public information
officer for Heartland Fire & Rescue.

The resident, whose name was not released, was taken to UC San Diego
Medical Center, but there was no word on his condition.

The man told authorities he was working on a motor in his garage and
using some flammable chemicals that caught fire as they got close to the gas-
fired water heater, according to Saghera.

An off-duty firefighter who lives nearby helped put out the fire and
summon medical help. Other firefighters arrived in about five minutes and put
out the fire in 12 minutes, said Monica Zech of the fire agency.

Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading from the garage to the house,
Saghera said. Damage to the structure and its contents was estimated at
$30,000, he said.

Categories: KUSI