Crews stop spread of El Cajon brush fire

EL CAJON, Calif. - Homes in El Cajon were evacuated Tuesday as a brush fire headed that way.

The fire was reported in the 12900 block of Interstate 8 Business about 2:30 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

The blaze grew to more than 15 acres before firefighters stopped its forward spread, according to the Lakeside Fire Protection District. Hand crews and firefighters in bulldozers worked to cut defensible fire line around the blaze. Firefighting aircraft were released after making a few drops on the fire.

Two firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries.

Sheriff's deputies evacuated homes and businesses on Amelia Drive, but that order was later lifted. Some buildings were threatened on Lavala, Flaven and Cindy Lynn lanes, but no homes were damaged, authorities said.

Several homeowners wondered aloud about the timing of the fire, which came three days after another suspicious fire in the same general area. On Saturday, another fire moved down the hill and threatened a nearby strip mall.

Mike Doshay told 10News, "What I'm concerned about … this is two fires in three days so I'm worried about arson or maybe some people living out there that are cooking something and it's getting out of control."

Mona Queriones was hosing down her yard before evacuating. 

"There's somebody living out there and they've been busted quite a bit and I feel like we're getting back to back on this right now," she said.

Chris Burrows rushed over to check on his brother's home. 

"I'm kind of concerned. He works for San Diego Turtle Rescue and he's got a bunch of turtles back there so I want to make sure they're not in danger," said Burrows.

Some of the residents believe Tuesday's fire may have been started by a cigarette thrown out a car window. Firefighters will be piecing together their information to see if there is a connection between the fires on Tuesday and Saturday.

A SigAlert was issued for Interstate 8 Business, between Lavala and Aurora lanes. A traffic advisory was issued for Interstate 8 between state Route 67 and Lake Jennings Park Road because of smoke in the area, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Tuesday's fire burned 18.4 acres, fire officials said.

Crews from Lakeside Fire, Heartland Fire, El Cajon Fire, Lemon Grove Fire, Santee Fire and Cal Fire worked to battle the fire.

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