Flames flare up in El Cajon apartment complex

Posted at 11:46 AM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 02:27:55-04

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) - An 89-year-old grandmother from El Cajon is in the hospital with severe burns after escaping a fast-moving fire in her condo.

The fire erupted just before 8:00 am Monday at a condo on Teatro Circle just off of Third Avenue in El Cajon.

According to neighbors, a good Samaritan and a police officer rescued the woman before firefighters got on scene.

Several neighbors called 911 including Thomas Duymich.

"Raging flames and then they pulled this poor woman out," said Duymich.

The woman's name is Lorraine Mardeusc, according to her son who stopped by the house Monday evening. She's the mother of five and grandmother to 23.

She suffered burns to more than 20% of her back and smoke inhalation. She's in the burn center of UCSD Medical Center.

Firefighters think the fire started in the kitchen area, but it's unclear how.

The fire gutted the entire downstairs. The heat blew out the windows, spreading the flames to the condo next door. That unit sustained minimal damage.

Firefighters thought they had the fire out, but a few hours later, an area of the attic, which was too dangerous for crews to reach, ignited. Firefighters returned and knocked it out from the roof.

"Everybody just went into that mode, let's get everybody out, and people were knocking on doors," said another neighbor.

Mardeusc's home appeared to be a total loss.