Fire that burned Mission Hills home believed to be accidental

SAN DIEGO - A fire that destroyed a Mission Hills home is believed to have been accidental, fire officials said Thursday.

The fire broke out Wednesday at about 10 p.m. in the 4400 block of Ampudia Street, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department officials said. The home had been under construction for a year.

The Childs family have lived in the home next door to it for 20 years. The close call has them counting their blessings.

"We've done a lot of work on this home," said Judy Childs. "We've remodeled this home, my kids have grown up here and I really don't think I realized how much it meant to me until we almost lost it last night."

Childs' 17-year-old son, Henry, was watching TV when he thought he heard someone moving trash cans. He looked out the window and saw the raging flames.

"I ran upstairs and woke up my parents and called 911," Henry said. "By the time I made it outside, by the time I woke up my parents and got my brother outside, the entire second story was in flames."

He then rushed to his neighbor's house to get them to safety.  

"I woke them up," Henry added. "By the time I made it back out here the entire house was gone. [It] couldn't have been more than two or three minutes."

The house he grew up in was now at risk, so Henry grabbed a garden hose and started to spray.

"The fire department told us we were a minute away from losing our house," Judy Childs said. "If we hadn't had the water on our house, it would have gone."

But the Childs family home survived thanks to Henry Childs and fire crews.

"I thank the Lord I was home and I could help my family," Henry said. "The fire crews did an amazing job. As soon as they got here, they cut it off. I'm just, you know, I'm thankful that everyone's safe."

The estimated damage to the house that burned is $1 million, and there is an estimated $135,000 in damage to neighboring homes, according to fire officials.

Investigators said it's too soon to tell what caused the fire.

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