1 person found dead at scene of City Heights apartment fire
Fire reported at 4:25 a.m.
Last Updated: 413 days ago
SAN DIEGO -
A cigarette sparked a predawn blaze that killed a man in his City Heights apartment Wednesday, fire officials said.
The blaze in the 4200 block of Wightman Street, near Van Dyke Street, erupted shortly before 4:30 a.m., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
Crews dousing the flames found the victim's body inside the burning second-floor unit, SDFRD spokesman Maurice Luque said.
The man apparently had been unable to escape because the spreading fire blocked his front door. His name was withheld pending family notification.
"I looked out and saw the flames coming out, so I went out and woke up my roommate because with everything so close everything could go up really quick," said neighbor Green Whittman.
10News learned that the man found at the residence was a Vietnam War veteran who had been renting the apartment for four months.
Neighbors confirmed that only one person lived in the apartment and that the person had only been there for a few months.
San Diego police said officers have responded to the apartment half a dozen times in the past four months, but did not give details on what type of calls they were.
Crystal Lafaye, who lives next door, woke up to a beeping noise and saw flames spilling out of the apartment. She called 911.
Lafaye said, "I believe it was the smoke detector alarm that went off, and just the guy pretty much screaming for help to get out."
Fire crews were able to contain the fire to the top apartment, keeping it from spreading to the other homes.
No other injuries were reported, Luque said.
Investigators set the monetary losses at $250,000 to the structure and $5,000 to contents.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. City News Service contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.