A family was displaced Thursday evening due to a fire at their Spring Valley home, authorities said.
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The ordeal began around 9 p.m. when San Diego Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a medical marijuana delivery provider robbed at gunpoint near the 3000 block of Nereis Drive. Sheriff's officials said a witness reported seeing an armed man running into a house.
Willie Houston, who lives in the home, said his family was making dinner when they realized deputies surrounded the house.
"So I go outside to the door and they tell me to stick my hand through the bar and come on out and follow the voice and the light, and as soon as I get out they handcuff me," said Houston.
Around the same time, Houston's son-in-law came home and was also put in handcuffs, but ultimately let go. The family said they were ordered out of the house at gunpoint.
Houston's wife, Christine, added, "I said, 'Wait a minute, there's food on the stove, my grandbaby is upstairs, Cherie is upstairs,' and then all of sudden all hell breaks loose; all the smoke started coming out of the house."
The fire broke out in the kitchen, and two women and a 7-year-old girl were trapped on the second floor of the home, according to authorities.
One deputy used a skateboard and another used a fire ax in an attempt to break the windows to get the people out. Deputies had everyone out by the time the fire crews arrived.
The Houstons say they are still trying to understand what happened, and while their kitchen is a charred mess, they are grateful no one was hurt.
"But I think it could be handled better than what it was, especially when we [were] informing them there was no reason for our kitchen to catch on fire; we could've lost everything last night," said Willie Houston.
The Houstons said the sheriff's department apologized and promised to compensate them for the damages.
Sheriff's department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said of the incident: "This is certainly going to be part of all the investigation that's going to go on post-incident; what happened, when it happened, reviewing all the reports that have been taken in combination with the fire department and the bomb-arson report."
Caldwell also refuted the family's claim that a deputy offered to reimburse the family, saying it didn't happen.
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