CHULA VISTA (CBS 8) – A grandmother had to rush through a South Bay house to save her grandchildren before firefighters arrived, after a fire ignited in a Chula Vista home Friday morning.
The fire, which gutted the back of a home in the 700 block of 2nd Avenue, has left a family of eight without a place to live.
Of the eight occupants, only three were inside just before 11:00 a.m. when the fire broke out. The youngest child is six-months-old and the four-year-old granddaughter put the family on alert when she smelled smoke.
"I ran back there to open the door to let the smoke out. When I was going through, the fire was there,” said Grandmother Anna Martin, who was able to get all of her grandchildren to safety.
“I need to get them out, I need to get myself out,” said Martin.
Chula Vista firefighters reported that the flames charred 75 percent of the family's home.
"The occupants will be displaced for several weeks if not more,” said Battalion Chief Jeff Peter with the Chula Vista Fire Department.
While battling the blaze, one firefighter was injured.
"The firefighter was hit by some drywall while we were pulling ceilings inside and it hit the firefighter’s head,” said Peter.
That firefighter was evaluated on scene and did not have to be transported to the hospital because the injury sustained was reported as minor.
The fire stunned longtime neighbors and many feared the worst due to the dry weather.
"Black smoke almost like a full on chimney,” said Enrique Patlan a neighbor. “That whole back end of the house is gone."
"We just ran out and prayed that there would be no wind that would take our house away as well,” said longtime neighbor, Becky Patlan.
Fire damaged the back of the home, where all the family's Christmas gifts were kept. Still the homeowners are staying upbeat.
“We can always come back from this. When you talk about time in the hospital, loss of life and severe injuries, I would rather talk this as opposed to that,” explained Tony Martin.
Fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.
In the meantime, the community has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family.