Crews douse Valley Center brush fire: Flames reported at Lilac Road near Sierra Rojo Road

Blaze burned roughly 5 acres

VALLEY CENTER, Calif. - A power tool sparked a non-injury brush fire that blackened about five open acres in a rural area north of Escondido Friday.

A person using a mechanical grinder on a metal chicken coop accidentally ignited the blaze off Lilac and Sierra Rojo roads in Valley Center about 10:30 a.m., according to Cal Fire.

Ground crews attacked the flames with help from an air tanker that dropped fire retardant on the burning foliage, said Ray Chaney, a battalion chief with the state agency. The crews had the blaze under control within about a half-hour.

The fire caused no reported structural damage.

One man, though, was doused with fire retardant.

Ken Boyd told 10News, "I walked out just in time to get the badge of honor from the aerial dump. I got the fire retardant dumped on myself and my dogs and I didn't see anything except a lot of smoke and heard commotion and I came out and saw a wall of flames."

Donna Luce lives on the edge of where firefighters were able to stop the flames.

"I didn't see any flames but I saw plenty of smoke; black smoke; it scared the living daylights out of me," she said.

She had kind words to say about the firefighters who were posted on her driveway to protect her property while calming her down.  

Then she joked, "If I had seen the firemen who were all up here running this way, I would have been faster than they were to get out of here."

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