SAN DIEGO - An electrical problem in the garage of a Mira Mesa home in the 10000 block of Zapata Avenue sent flames shooting up into the sky Tuesday night.
The fire was reported shortly before 5 p.m. According to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, the fire started on the home's second floor and spread downstairs into the walls and attic. Two cars parked in the driveway were also damaged.
Brandon Ruscilli was at his parents' house when he heard someone screaming across the street. After calling 911, he recorded video of the fire and sent it to 10News.
"It was pretty intense," he said. "Once the cars started catching on fire you could hear popping sounds. You could feel the flames from all the way back here."
One firefighter tried to attack the flames from a second floor balcony but quickly discovered a problem.
"As he was stepping out onto the patio … the rotten wood, he went through the patio at the very front of the structure and crashed down into the garage," said Battalion Chief Glen Holder.
The firefighter started yelling "mayday."
"It's one of the worst calls you want to hear," said Holder.
Just so happens, San Diego firefighters recently had some training that may have saved the man's life.
"His partner and the captain knew exactly where he went down, raced down the stairs, grabbed him out of the pile and thank goodness tonight no blood, bones broken, teeth, nothing," Holder told 10News. "But it was a textbook response to a mayday call. I'm actually still having chest pain. "
The fire was knocked down at about 5:40 p.m. There were people inside the home at the time, but all were able to get out safely. No injuries were reported.
There may have been 12 people staying in the home, two of them children. A 10News crew saw several people carrying out belongings in bins and suitcases. Firefighters estimate there is about $300,000 worth of damage to the home.
The Red Cross is helping the residents with clothing and shelter.