RV fire erupts on troubled property near SDSU

Posted at 7:33 AM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 21:24:27-04

SAN DIEGO – An RV fire broke out Wednesday morning near San Diego State University on a property that has seen several law enforcement responses in recent months.

The fire was reported around 6:50 a.m. on a property in the 5100 block of Ewing Street, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesperson Lee Swanson. The fire started in a shed and spread to an RV. Firefighters extinguished it before it spread to any homes.

Damage was limited to the shed and trailer out back, the fence, and a tree.

Loyda Navarro, who was asleep when the blaze erupted, said, "Got woken up out of our sleep by a neighbor, not by tenants who aren't supposed to be here -- squatters; (neighbors) told us there's a fire and I started smelling it in my sleep."

Neighbor Garrett Hein told 10News, "I jumped up to the window and all of a sudden a big pop happened and I could see flames creeping up this way and it was real."

His roommate, Jason Warner, grabbed a garden hose.

"There were orange flames and the fire was about level with the fence and this whole back corner of the yard. Then I was worried about the house because it started burning the fence and trailer so I started soaking down the house. It got too much; got out of there," said Warner.

Hein picked up a fire extinguisher.

"By the time I woke everyone up, it was into the trees, fully immersing, breaking down the fence and yeah, it moved really fast," Hein told 10News.

The RV was on the same property where a house fire occurred in December, Swanson said. 10News learned that fire, considered an arson case, chased 11 people into the street and caused $200,000 in damage.

According to the Daily Aztec newspaper, on March 17 there was also a narcotics raid at the home that netted nine arrests.

"All of a sudden, I see 10 cop cars, 20 cops …," Hein said of the raid.

There was no cause yet and no reason to believe Wednesday's blaze was suspicious, Swanson said. Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST) investigators were on scene. Several extension cords were discovered in the house and backyard. Swanson added that the home had squatters.

Navarro said she’d been renting a room since last April, but many other people were living there without permission of the owner.

"Yeah, there's 9 or 10 squatters that I've been trying to fight to get out of here," said Navarro.

10News approached some other people who were gathering belongings after the fire. They described themselves: "We weren't really staying here. We're just guests; visitors."