Fire erupts at Chula Vista apartment; 1 arrested

Posted at 5:47 AM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 21:02:49-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A fire in a large Chula Vista apartment building Monday left several people injured and 30 residents in need of interim lodging, and a man who was inside the apartment where the fire broke out was arrested.

The blaze began spreading shortly after 2 p.m. in a second-floor unit at the Seawind Apartments at 1067 Fourth Ave., near Naples Street. Some residents reported hearing at least one explosion.

Crews evacuated the two-story structure -- one of nine at the complex -- while extinguishing the flames, Chula Vista Deputy Fire Chief Harry Muns said. The personnel were able to confine the blaze to the apartment in which it erupted and had it extinguished within about 10 minutes.

Medics took two residents to hospitals, one with burns and the other for treatment of smoke inhalation. Five people were evaluated at the scene for minor burns and respiratory complaints, Muns said.

The American Red Cross was called in to help the displaced -- 25 adults and five children -- arrange for temporary shelter.

After an investigation inside the apartment, police arrested David Wasson and booked him on a previously outstanding felony assault with a deadly weapon charge and DUI charge. It has not been confirmed if Wasson is the registered renter of the apartment.

Police said they identified what they're calling "suspicious items" in the apartment, but they did not say if the items were used to cook drugs.

Wasson suffered minor burns to the hand.

Chula Vista fire officials are still investigating the blaze and are trying to determine if the fire was deliberately set or accidental.

Residents told 10News they believe the person who lives in the unit that exploded may have been cooking up drugs.

"We heard some explosions back to back," said resident Brenda Rojas. "And we see him with his leg on fire and doesn't even ask us for help or anything. He just looked kind of shady. He just leaves running all the way to the back."

Police couldn’t confirm if Wasson is the same man residents are talking about.