SAN DIEGO - A suspicious early-morning house fire in Mira Mesa on Thursday left a woman and her adult daughter hospitalized in grave condition and a third relative under arrest on suspicion of arson and attempted murder, authorities reported.
The blaze in the 11200 block of Featherhill Lane erupted about 1:30 a.m., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
It took crews about 10 minutes to subdue the flames. Firefighters then found the two women, ages 69 and 48, unconscious in separate rooms, police Lt. Jorge Duran said. Medics took them to hospitals, where they were admitted with life-threatening injuries.
As the blaze was spreading through the second floor of the two-story house, witnesses saw a live-in relative of the victims, 44-year old Thongsavath Sphabmixay, leaving the area, Duran said. When Sphabmixay returned a short time later, officers detained him, Duran said.
After being questioned, the suspect was arrested and booked into San Diego Central Jail. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Due to the severity of the women's injuries, homicide detectives were gathering evidence along with fire investigators, according to police.
The lieutenant declined to specify how the suspect was related to the victims. Neighbors told reporters he was the son of one and brother of the other.
A man identifying himself as Kiene, a relative, told 10News that the family has fallen on hard times. The husband and father died of cancer last month and there have been financial difficulties.
"I feel sad because the husband just passed away. The house was on fire and then they’re in very poor health condition, so how are they going to live?" Kiene said.
10News also checked arrest warrants and learned that Sphabmixay has a record dating back to 2002. He was arrested on charges including auto theft, receipt of a stolen vehicle and driving under the influence.
He is being held at county jail on three counts of attempted murder in the first degree, arson causing great bodily injury, arson of an inhabited structure, aggravated arson and the use of an accelerant. There is no bail.