Suspicious residential fire under investigation

By Gina Yarbrough

Poway, CA–The Sheriff’s Bomb and Arson Unit is investigating a suspicious residential fire that broke out Saturday night in Poway, authorities said.

The Sheriff’s Department received calls about a residential fire just after 7 p.m. in the 16000 block of Martincoit Road. A neighbor reported dark smoke coming from the house.

When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the house fully engulfed in flames. Fire departments from Poway, San Diego, Escondido, and Rancho Santa Fe, as well as San Diego County Fire, responded to the two-alarm fire. Several nearby homes were evacuated. 

According to the Sheriff’s Department, witnesses reported seeing a woman run back into the house. 

Shortly after 11:30 p.m., a 68-year-old woman emerged from the bottom level of the home. She was taken to a local hospital for minor scrapes and held for a mental health evaluation. She had been living in the home after it was recently condemned by the City of Poway and sold. City officials and the Sheriff’s Department have been working with the new owner to remove anyone from the home, Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Anthony Portillo stated in a news release.

It took firefighters several hours to knock down the flames. As investigators began their investigation of the split-level home, it was deemed too dangerous to enter as the floor had become structurally unsafe.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Bomb and Arson Unit were called to investigate the origin and cause of the fire. 

The public is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Department if they see any suspicious activity or trespassers at the residence.  

The Poway Fire Department kept personnel on the scene overnight monitoring the home and knocking down hot spots. The house is considered to be a total loss. 

Detectives believe the fire could have been started by an unattended candle. The Sheriff’s Department urges the public to monitor lit candles closely and keep them away from anything that may catch fire. 

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