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Neighbors 'heartbroken' after 3 die in El Cajon house fire

House catches fire overnight in El Cajon
Posted at 9:49 PM, Apr 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-22 00:49:26-04

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) — Neighbors are wondering what happened to spark a house fire late Thursday nightin unincorporated El Cajon, killing three people.

“We want answers because this shouldn’t have happened," said Reagan Seymour, who lives across the street near the 900 block of North Anza Street.

Seymour says her mom woke up to the commotion and yelled "Fire!"

Seymour's family has lived across the street for more than five years and says two of the three victims were their landlords, a couple in their eighties.

“When we moved in, they took us in as their own. We called them grandma and grandpa and they didn’t really have much family, so we just ended up becoming their family. We helped take care of them," she said.

First responders arrived within minutes of receiving a 911 call, but the home was already engulfed in flames by they time they got there.

One person was found dead inside. The other two victims were rushed to the hospital, but died shortly after arriving.

Neighbors say the third victims was the couple's grandchild, who was in his twenties and disabled.

"We’re all heartbroken. Everybody in the neighborhood that knew them or knew anything about them we’re just, we’re all heartbroken over this," said another neighbor, who knew the couple for decades.

One man was living in a trailer on the property behind the house and suffered smoke inhalation, but no life-threatening injuries.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department and other agencies remained on scene throughout most of Friday to comb through the ashes.

SDSD says it will take time to figure out the exact cause of the fire, as it studies burn patterns, evidence and waits for lab results to return.

SDG&E did confirm to ABC 10News a gas link was repaired in the area, but could not say whether that was the cause or correlated to the fire.